Crainey delighted with Fleetwood move

Stephen Crainey
Stephen Crainey
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Former Blackpool favourite Stephen Crainey is delighted to have sealed a one-year deal with ambitious Fleetwood Town.

The 33-year-old joined the Highbury club on Friday, having spent last season with Wigan Athletic after six years at Bloomfield Road.

The left-back trumped Fleetwood’s Wembley apppearance last term by making two – in the Community Shield and FA Cup semi-finals.

But it’s Town’s success on the hallowed turf which caught the Scotman’s eye.

Crainey told The Gazette: : “I’m just delighted to be here and to have my future sorted.

“Now I just can’t wait to get myself fit, meet the lads and get out there on the pitch.

“This club has been up and coming for the past few years now, and that was a big pull for me. I want to be part of that and to help take this club forward.”

Despite his pedigree, Crainey’s place in the Fleetwood starting XI is far from guaranteed, with recent signing Danny Andrew and Stephen Jordan vying for the left-back slot.

But that doesn’t worry Crainey, who added: “With every squad I’ve been in there’s been competition. Whoever is doing well in training gets a shot on Saturday, and hopefully I can force my way into the side.”

Despite making the step down from Championship football, Crainey knows it’s going to be a tough campaign as Fleetwood accept the challenge of League One for the first time and take on the likes of Preston North End and Sheffield United.

But Lytham-based Crainey believes Fleetwood can compete. “It’s going to be a step up,” he said.

“There are some big teams in there and it will be tough, but if we can get a good blend together there’s no reason we can’t do well.

“You need a good mix of youth and experience. People say we’ve got that here and I’m looking forward to finding out.”

Crainey’s move to Fleetwood was eased further by having former Bloomfield Road team-mate Keith Southern in the squad.

And he’s looking forward to linking up with the squad in training today.

“I’ll start to get to know the lads this week,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll settle quickly.”

Besides Southern, another man Crainey knows well is manager Graham Alexander, a fellow Scotland international.

The pair first met to discuss the deal a fortnight ago and Crainey explained: “Speaking to the manager was a really a big draw. I know what he’s about. I’ve played alongside him and I know what he wants. That was a big thing for me.”

As for problems down the road at former club Blackpool, Crainey believes they will be all right in the end, despite their player shortage and the stand-off between manager Jose Riga and chairman Karl Oyston.

“It’s just the way the club is,” said Crainey. “I’m sure Karl will sort it out himself.

“He’s run the club well over the last few years. The club has been in the Premier League, so it’s not been run badly. I’m sure they’ll get a good squad together.”