Cup finals all the way for Town skipper Roberts

Mark Roberts             Picture: DERICK THOMAS
Mark Roberts Picture: DERICK THOMAS
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Skipper Mark Roberts insists every game is a cup final now as Fleetwood Town gear up for a February promotion push.

Town play eight games in 25 days next month, starting at home to York City on Saturday.

Having gone through January undefeated and winning four games out of five, Fleetwood have clawed their way back into automatic promotion contention.

And after a disappointing Christmas, Town’s very happy New Year has come as no surprise to captain Roberts.

“There’s one reason for the turnaround,” he said. “You get to January 1 and you see the finish line in sight.

“The games are coming thick and fast and they’ll continue to do so.

“But when you can see the end result, what we’ve worked so hard for, it begins to hit home how important each game is.

“You have to treat every single one as a cup final and battle for every point.”

Graham Alexander’s men could have gone top for 24 hours with victory at Scunthorpe on Monday.

Goalkeeper Sam Slocombe made sure that didn’t happen, his string of stops including a penalty save from Steven Schumacher.

But Roberts is pleased with Town’s four-point return from a tricky three days in which they visited two of the top three teams.

“We know it could have been maximum points,” he said. “But before the two games, if you’d said we would go to Burton and get the result we did and would then keep a clean sheet away to the league leaders we’d have taken it.

“There’s loads of positives to take from the two games and you can see we’re improving as a team.”

The performance at Glanford Park was particularly impressive, Town dominating against Russ Wilcox’s pace-setters.

Centre-half Roberts was impressed with the way Fleetwood built from the back. He added: “We created chances in both halves and we played much of the second half at their end of the field.

“If we’d just taken one of the chances we created we’d be up there, but there’s still so much to be proud of.

“Our ball retention and our recycling of the ball was excellent. It was probably one of our best away performances of the season.

“We’ve played a lot worse than that and come away with all three points.”

The skipper played League One football at Stevenage last term and hopes Town’s form in the second half of this campaign will take him back there.

He said: ”It’s a good time to be hitting this kind of form. We had dropped to seventh, and we really did have to roll our sleeves up and get some points on the board. We’ve not quite managed to go top but we’ll keep trying to move forward.”

York City are the visitors to Highbury at the weekend. And although the Minstermen might not present such a tough test on paper, Roberts warned his team-mates against complacency.

He said: ”All the teams in this league have their qualities and produce in their own way. We might have to be even better on Saturday.

“Now we’ve just got to dust ourselves down, prepare again. It’s a quick turnaround but we’ll be ready for York.”