IF Fleetwood Town’s strikers are suffering any sort of confidence dip after going through five Highbury friendlies without a goal, then Andrew Mangan certainly isn’t showing it.
Mangan and Richard Brodie have been signed to bang in the goals for Town in the Blue Square Bet Premier this season, and those strikes have dried up after a bright start to pre-season.
Mangan netted in Town’s first warm-up match against Partick Thistle in Grangemouth, then Brodie bagged both in the win at AFC Fylde. But five home games have seen no goals scored and ten conceded, and assistant boss Craig Madden admitted he’s desperate to see his side hit the net in the final friendly at Kendal on Saturday.
But Mangan, who turns 25 at the end of the month, spoke out defiantly and sees no cause for alarm.
The Liverpudlian said: “There are no prizes in pre-season. If the goals go in for me in the season as they have in the past I’ll be OK.”
A prolific scorer for Forest Green, Mangan maintained an enviable goalscoring record at Wrexham and was their top Conference scorer with 16 goals last season.
Indeed, such is Mangan’s self-belief that he won’t use the quality of the defences which have kept Town at bay in recent weeks as any sort of excuse – three League One sides, a Manchester United XI and the Latvian top-flight side Jelgava have all kept Town goalless.
But Mangan said: “I think I can play at a higher level, so it doesn’t matter which defence we are playing against.
“Whether it’s Oldham, Fylde or Manchester United, I’m confident I can score.”
Mangan had a game against Oldham, which included a couple of half-chances, and he took numerous positives from the performance despite the lack of a finishing touch.
He added; “I’m quite sure we’ll play well. I thought we passed Oldham off the park at times.
“We conceded a sloppy goal but we have two weeks to iron out the mistakes, and as long as they happen now and not in the real season we’ll be happy.”
He described Town’s award-winning pitch as a delight to play on (see below) but accepted that Saturday’s sizzling heat was a factor.
“It’s a gorgeous pitch. I’ve played on some nice ones but this is fantastic. You see this stadium and this pitch and it makes you want to play well,” Mangan said.
“I had a few half-chances and in the second half I had a free-kick which wasn’t hard enough to beat the keeper and was saved.
“It was obviously a hard game just because of the sun. I thought we coped quite well in the first half but tailed off in the second.”
However, he felt the demanding conditions provided evidence of the squad’s fitness after a rigorous pre-season training schedule.
He added: “We are fit as you could see on Saturday. The sun was beating down but we coped well physically and kept going until the last minute.”
But he finished by reaffirming that goals don’t really matter until the Blue Square Bet Premier opener at Grimsby on Saturday week.
“The 13th is the game that matters. That’s when you are playing for points, for positions and for your jobs. That’s when it really happens.”
INTERVIEW: DAVID MITCHELL