Fleetwood’s Maxwell looking for magical Wembley finale

Chris Maxwell with fans after Fleetwood sealed their Wembley date
Chris Maxwell with fans after Fleetwood sealed their Wembley date
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Fleetwood Town goalkeeper Chris Maxwell has 26 clean sheets to his name this season.

It’s not a bad return by any stretch.

But the former Wales U21 stopper knows if he can add one more to that tally he’ll be playing League One football next season.

It’s been a tremendous turnaround at Highbury for Maxwell, who has been loaned out twice since arriving at Highbury from Wrexham in the summer of 2012.

His full debut only came in February this year, away at Wycombe – and since then he’s cemented his place as Graham Alexander’s first choice between the posts.

Maxwell admitted to The Gazette it’s not always been easy.

He said: “It’s been a crazy couple of years.

“There have been a lot of down times. I’ve had a lot of negative thoughts.

“But it just shows you’ve got to keep yourself going and good things come if you wait.

“I’m really happy, chuffed to bits personally.

“For the club it’s a fantastic achievement but the job’s not done yet.”

Nineteen of Maxwell’s 26 clean sheets for the season came while on loan at Cambridge United – who sealed promotion back to the Football League at Wembley on Sunday.

Last season he was on loan at Wrexham, making two visits to the home of English football. Only one of those was successful, the Welsh side winning the FA Trophy, though they missed out in the Conference play-off final.

And Maxwell knows the pain as well as the joy a play-off final can bring.

He said: “Last year I won at Wembley and then lost there.

“I know both sides of it.

“It’s a fantastic place but it’s still a football pitch, there’s goals at both ends.

“There’s just bigger buildings around it.”

The 23-year-old is not the only man in the Fleetwood camp to have visited Wembley twice in the last two years.

Play-off hero Matty Blair managed the same with York City and, like Maxwell will return on Monday for a third bite of the cherry.

“A second home for me and Matty? It sounds good when you say it like that,” laughed Maxwell.

“It can either be terrible or it can be fantastic.

“Let’s just make sure we win.”

Maxwell knows the huge task on the team’s shoulders when they take on Burton Albion for a place in League One, particularly given the stunning run of success which Fleetwood enjoyed before his arrival.

He said: “It’s a fantastic achievement.

“You look at the number of promotions in such a short time.

“That’s a credit to the structure of the club.

“It’s a professional club right from the bottom to the top. You see the enthusiasm and ambition of the chairman filter all the way down.

“It’s a club you want to be at, one which is growing and one which is going places.

“We’ve just got to make sure we keep the results coming.”

And he’s hoping Friday’s packed house at Highbury is a sign of things to come.

Maxwell said: “It’s maybe difficult in such a small town to bring new fans in.

“Hopefully those who came on Friday will have got a taste and will come back.

“If we can get to League One there’s no reason we can’t pack the place out every week.

“The fans, they’ve been fantastic to me. They’ve been consistent over the last few years and helped me through. To have a packed crowd at Highbury it was fantastic.

“I’m just so glad we can give something back.”