Four-win fight for Town

Skipper Rob Atkinson and Billy Kee
Skipper Rob Atkinson and Billy Kee
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MAXIMUM points is the target for Fleetwood Town boss Graham Alexander from the final four games of the club’s first Football League campaign, starting tomorrow at home to Rochdale.

Town are still well in with a shout of a play-off place, sitting three points behind seventh-placed Exeter City, although they have played a game more.

Alexander has challenged his squad to end the season with a bang. He said: “The target is 12 points – that’s what we’re aiming for. We go into every game looking to win and that’s not going to change now. Hopefully we’ll take good form into the end of the season.”

Keith Hill’s Dale side head to Highbury on the back of an Easter Monday victory over Exeter, a result which helped Fleetwood close the gap on the play-off pack.

But it has made the Town boss wary of the test his own side will face.

He added: “Rochdale have been struggling for form of late, certainly in terms of results.

“But they beat Exeter away from home and by all accounts they deserved the results.

“It means we’re going to have to be on top of our game because on their day Rochdale are a very good team.”

A punishing Easter weekend facing league leaders Gillingham and then Johnstone’s Paints Trophy finalists Southend United took its toll on Town, who faded at Roots Hall where a late goal from Barry Corr denied them three points.

But the Fleetwood boss believes his squad have made it through the tough schedule without major trauma.

“There’s a couple of bumps, bruises and knocks,” said Alexander. “A few sore limbs but we’re managing that.

“They’ve had a bit of a rest period and hopefully they’ll be raring to go on Saturday.

“We’ll be looking for the same levels of commitment, endeavour and ability they have shown over the last three games.”

Alexander believes his side could have done even better over Easter. He said: “It’s a couple of points gained but in the end a couple of points dropped from our perspective.

“I thought we did ever so well against Gillingham. We got a very deserved point.

“But Southend was disappointing because we did more than enough to win the game.

“We should have taken at least four points out of the weekend.

“But the lads are really pleased with their levels of performance and so am I.

“That’s what we were looking for.

“The last two or three games have been more like what we expect from each other as professionals.”

Alexander is hoping to have a similar squad to choose from this weekend, with the bonus that skipper Rob Atkinson returned to training yesterday.

He could be in contention having missed the last three games with a groin injury.

Jon Parkin missed training through illness, while full-back Dean Howell is still some way from match fitness.

The Fleetwood boss knows what to expect from Dale.

He said: “They will be a good, footballing side and they will build from the back like all Keith Hill’s sides.

“We know we’ve got to keep up the levels of performance we have seen over the last few games. We can’t afford to do anything else if we are to hang on to that outside chance of a play-off spot.

“The gap has come down but those teams above us have played fewer games.

“Things are a little out of our hands but all we can do it make sure we win our remaining games to give ourselves the best possible chance.”