Ash Eastham believes Fleetwood Town will re-establish their defensive dominance

Ash Eastham has backed his Fleetwood Town team-mates to rediscover their defensive strength as they aim to chase down the play-off pack.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 6:00 pm
Fleetwood Town's Ash Eastham

Town have the fourth best record for clean sheets in League One this season, having recorded 13 shutouts.

Only Blackpool (16), Luton Town (18) and Barnsley (18) have picked up more.

The Seasiders are also the only team to have recorded more clean sheets on the road than Town so far, leading them nine to eight.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

However, they have only kept five clean sheets at Highbury and are yet to keep any of this month’s opponents from scoring.

However, Eastham is confident that Town can go back to their blank blueprint when they host Plymouth Argyle at Highbury on Saturday.

He said: “Every single week the gaffer (Joey Barton) talks about a clean sheet mentality.

“As defenders that is what we prioritise.

“I think we are fourth in the league for clean sheets which is not too bad.

“But, in the last two games, conceding from set-pieces against Walsall – where we have been pretty good all season – and against Coventry, we conceded a freak goal and a very good goal from Jordy Hiwula for the second so I don’t think we are too far off getting back to the form we were in a couple of weeks ago; picking up clean sheets consistently.

“We work on it on a day-to-day basis and we are confident we can get back to that.”

Defensively Town are eighth overall in League One for goals conceded having conceded just 41 goals from their 37 league games.

Eastham was disappointed to concede from a set-piece and the second phase of a set-piece in last Saturday’s defeat at Walsall.

Nevertheless, he reiterated that Town are one of the best teams in the division at defending set-pieces – a far cry from last year.

He said: “It is always disappointing.

“From a second phase, it is different because you come out and there are a lot of bodies in the box it is a tough one to defend.

“But if you look at our record this season from dealing with first contact and second contact from corners we are up there with the best of the league.

“The message to the lads before Coventry was do not panic because we know we are one of the best in the league at it.

“There is no need after one game for panic to set in and for us to stop doing the fundamentals that get us success.

“We reiterated that this week, we just get back to dealing with corners and crosses as we have all season.”