Pressley homes in on Wembley with Fleetwood

Steven Pressley

Steven Pressley

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Fleetwood boss Steven Pressley couldn’t be happier with a home decider in his first Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area Final.

Town face Barnsley over two legs, with the winner travelling to Wembley for a showdown against Millwall or Oxford.

It has been confirmed the first leg at Oakwell will be played on Saturday January 9 – a date made possible thanks to both teams being out of the FA Cup.

Town then host the Tykes at Highbury on Tuesday February 2, subject to broadcast requirements.

“I think it’s ideal,” said Pressley. “I think the great thing about the second leg being at home is that we should attract a really great crowd that night.

“I hope the match will bring an excitement to the place. We’re pleased the first leg is at Barnsley and it will give us a great chance hopefully to progress at home.”

Fleetwood won through to their second Northern Area Final in three years with a 2-0 victory over Morecambe on Tuesday night.

David Ball came off the bench to score the opener and give his manager a headache ahead of this weekend’s League One game against Walsall.

With David Henen, Tariqe Fosu, Bobby Grant and Jamie Proctor also battling for a start, the manager is delighted to have to make big decisions.

“Competition brings performances,” he said. “I left David on the bench on Tuesday. I told him I thought his performances had been very good but I needed more goals from him.

“He came in and he was desperate to make sure he did get a goal return. That’s what competition at the top end will bring. If we change again at the weekend, the people who come in will know that if they get a chance they need to grasp it.”

Walsall have been flying this season, Dean Smith leading them to the upper reaches of League One before departing earlier this month for Championship Brentford.

And Pressley believes League One is an open affair this term. He said: “This is the one season I think there’s a greater equality between the sides.

“There are three or four with significantly higher budgets but it’s a more even playing field. How it is in the future depends on who goes up and who comes down.

“There are some big clubs leading League Two and some big clubs at the lower end of the Championship that could change the dynamic.

“But this season there’s a chance for the likes of Walsall to really make an impact.”

Fleetwood have no new injury concerns ahead of tomorrow’s game. It means manager Pressley has a full squad to choose from.