FLEETWOOD Town’s top scorer insists hard work on and off the pitch is paying off as the Cod Army continue to fly high in League Two.
Junior Brown scored a last-minute equaliser at Cheltenham Town – his fifth of the season – to earn Micky Mellon’s men a vital point to keep them in the automatic promotion places.
And the fullback-turned-winger is enjoying his new-found freedom.
He said: “The manager has given me licence to play. He’s given me a bit more freedom and I’m loving it. It’s where I played for a long time.
“I like to do my thing, get at people and it’s just clicking for me at the moment. “I’ve looked at a lot of things – I’ve sorted out my lifestyle out.
“I’m working that bit harder and it’s working not just for me but for the team.”
It’s a far cry from how Brown finished last season, out of favour at Town, not that he’s complaining. Brown said: “It’s a bit different for me.
“The last couple of seasons I’ve been a full-back but it’s great for me being up there and getting goals for the team.”
Another man finding himself up the Highbury pecking order is striker David Ball, left out of the side following the defeat at Bradford but now leading the line and, like Brown, on the scoresheet on Saturday.
“David Ball is a quality player,” said Brown. “We’ve got quality throughout the squad.
“It just seems to click right now. We’re creating chances and if we keep doing what we’re doing we will smack someone for four or five. We deserve to.”
On paper a point at last year’s play-off finalists Cheltenham was a fantastic result, but Brown believes the Cod Army could have come away with much more, surrendering a half-time lead before battling back deep into injury time.
He said: “I was disappointed we didn’t take all three points, but you get a lot from a point like that. It was a hard-fought game and I thought we deserved a lot more.
“We knew what we were going to get from them they were direct at times. They had two big lads up front and two big centre- halves.
“It was a tough day and we thought we could have taken more. The way we came out in the second half I thought we could kick on, get a couple more and put them to bed.
“But we’ve not taken our chances when they came, and they got back into it. We haven’t defended well at a couple of set-pieces and they’ve had something to try to hang on to. We dug in, kept playing the way we like to, nicked the goal and got what we deserved.”
Boss Micky Mellon described Brown’s goal at York as a contender for goal of the season. His equaliser at Cheltenham wasn’t quite out of the same drawer but the winger isn’t complaining.
He said: “A goal’s a goal. You take whatever you get. Our two at Cheltenham were scrappy, I’ve had a shot, it’s deflected and the keeper’s got something on it, Bally’s got a touch and it’s gone over the line.
“The second was a scramble in the box and I’ve got a tap-in. But you take whatever you can get in any game of football. If you keep getting on the score sheet you’ve got to be happy.”
Strikers Jon Parkin and Steven Gillespie both came off the bench for Fleetwood as they looked to rescue something at Whaddon Road, and Brown believes that shows the depth of talent manager Mellon can draw on.
He said: “Having the likes of Jon Parkin and Steven Gillespie come off the bench shows the strength we have. They played a big part in getting that goal.
“You know you’re going to get something from them, that they can change a game.
“They get in there, causing trouble, flicking the ball on. That’s what Gilly has done for the goal.
“We’re always going to create chances and get goals.”