Grezza sticks with skipper

Mark Roberts
Mark Roberts
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There will be no battle for the captaincy at Fleetwood Town, despite experienced midfielder Keith Southern joining the League One club.

Manager Graham Alexander ruled out making former Blackpool favourite Southern his new skipper, insisting Mark Roberts remains the man for the job.

But he made it clear Southern will have a big part to play – insisting the 33-year-old can be an influential figure on and off the field.

Alexander told The Gazette: “Mark Roberts is our captain. That isn’t going to change.

“But that’s not to say Keith isn’t going to be a leader for us.

“You can’t just rely on one man. There’s got to be three or four out there – the men who make it happen.”

Southern signed for Fleetwood last week, having spent the past two seasons in the Championship with Huddersfield Town.

He is expected to slot into the role vacated by Alan Goodall, marshalling the midfield.

And Alexander insists the Tynesider, who spent five years with Everton, can be an inspiration to others at the club.

The Town boss said: “We’ve got a fairly young squad but they are constantly striving to be better.

“A lot of our players haven’t experienced the game at this level before. People who have been there and done it can be invaluable.”

Alexander, who played League One football in his forties for Preston North End, insists he was diligent in checking Southern hadn’t lost any of the hunger which made him so well respected during his decade at Bloomfield Road.

Alexander told The Gazette: “I made a lot of calls about his character. When you get into your thirties, you’ve got to make sure that motivation is still there.

“Keith will have that not just on a matchday but every day on the training ground.

“We know we’ve brought in a player of real quality, who can help us at this level.

Southern was Town’s second signing of the summer, following defender Danny Andrew from Macclesfield Town.

The left-back is a hungry young player looking for another shot the Football League – a very different character to Southern.

But Alexander insists it shows the diversity of his recruitment strategy.

He added: “We’ve targeted a couple of positions and these were the ones we knew we needed to have sorted.

“We wanted to bring in a mixture of young players and experience. It’s crucial to get that mix right.”

Alexander has made it clear he does not intend to add significantly to the squad who won promotion at Wembley last month.