Battling Linwood’s up for a fight

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PAUL Linwood is relishing his battle to stay in the Fleetwood Town team.

It’s the sort of competition the centre-half is convinced will “drive us on to promotion”.

The Wirral-born defender got his first chance of the season at Kettering on Saturday, when Linwood was selected to partner his former Grimsby team-mate Rob Atkinson in the heart of defence and club captain Steve McNulty was dropped.

Even though Town ended up nervously protecting a 3-2 lead, having been three up at half-time, Linwood hopes he did enough to keep his place for Saturday’s home clash with Gateshead.

Linwood said: “I think I took my chance and it’s a big bonus for me, so may it continue. At my age (28 next month) I can’t afford to be out of the side.

“I know a lot about Rob because we had a good partnership at Grimsby in 2009-10. Big Macca missed out on Saturday and he’s a big, big player for us and will continue to be.

“There are three good centre-halves here, plus Matty Hughes, and we all push each other, which is how it should be.

“It’s the same with the strikers – if you take your chance and score goals, you will stay in the team and that’s what will drive us on to promotion.”

As for Saturday’s game of two halves, Linwood added: “I wouldn’t say we let our guard slip but they came at us with everything second half. They brought the two big lads on and it’s effective. If players have two or three inches on you they are going to win their fair share.

“What made it so disappointing is that should have been out of sight. At 3-0 we should have put them to bed because we had a few chances early in the second half.

“Maybe it’s a confidence thing but we made it hard for ourselves.

“But we dug in and deserved the win in the end. We showed our character and it was a big three points for us.”

Interview: DAVID MITCHELL