BOOKIES’ promotion favourites Fleetwood Town and Luton will clash at Highbury on the final day of the 2011/12 season (April 28) – and Highbury boss Micky Mellon is already relishing the encounter.
“Nobody could have scripted that,” said Mellon on receiving the Blue Square Bet Premier fixture list at the club’s Stirling University training camp.
“I hope the outcome of the game is crucial to the work put in over the other 40-odd league games. This is surely one game which will stick out in many people’s diaries.”
A hectic start to the season brings seven matches in the first three weeks, starting with a trip to Grimsby on August 13. Highbury stages its first fixture of the season three days later against Darlington.
The list of former Football League clubs playing at Fleetwood will increase with the visits of Stockport County (November 19) and Lincoln City (April 14), while Town break new ground with a journey to Braintree (October 1).
Southport’s reprieve following the demotion for financial reasons of Rushden & Diamonds, who called off yesterday’s FA appeal at the eleventh hour, means the return of their festive fixtures with Fleetwood.
The coastal rivals meet at Highbury on Boxing Day and at Haig Avenue on New Year’s Day, bringing back memories of just such a double-header two seasons ago, when Town avenged a 5-0 drubbing with a 4-0 home win six days later.
Mellon said: “These are the matches supporters want over the holiday period.
“They are crowd-pullers for both clubs and will no doubt be good football matches to watch.”
Town’s clashes with fellow play-off semi-final losers Wrexham are also set for bank holidays (August 29 away, April 9 home).
The fixture planners had particular problems with Hayes and Yeading, who are groundsharing with Woking, which is why Town visit them on a Sunday (December 4). And just like last season, Fleetwood’s final away trip is to Cambridge (April 21).
To prepare for all that, the squad’s gruelling week in Scotland continues. Alarm clocks were set for 5am yesterday before fitness work began at 6.30.