Fleetwood Town boss Steven Pressley has urged his players to get back to basics when they host high-flying Walsall tonight.
Nineteenth-placed Town’s three-match unbeaten run ended in a disappointing 2-1 defeat at League One leaders Burton Albion on Saturday.
But Town have yet to be beaten at their coastal fortress Highbury in 2016 and Pressley says his men need to up their game if they want to maintain their home run.
He said: “We didn’t play to our standards at the weekend, and if you don’t play to your standards in this league you will lose games.
“That same team, the league leaders, was a side we beat 4-0 at home.
“You have got to remember that is why I was so disappointed. We set standards and we have to maintain those standards.
“But now it is just about how we respond as a group and how we get back to those standards.
“We did a recovery-type shape session just to cement back the principles and the fundamentals that we continuously work towards, which we didn’t apply at weekend.
“At times everybody looks for tactical reasons but they are a small part of it.
“To win any game of football you have to do the basics, which are to win your 50/50 battles, win first contact as defenders, defend properly and pressure the game with absolute intent.
“Without the fundamentals of the game you don’t win football matches. At the weekend we were short on both our tactical elements and fundamental elements.”
Town’s last home loss was 3-1 to Wigan in December, and with a rejuvenated Walsall side about to visit the Fylde coast Pressley is keen not to let standards slide at home.
He said: “We have been excellent at home. In each of our last three home games we have scored twice to help us win the game
“The atmosphere we are creating within our home stadium, the intensity we are working to at home and the way the players are applying themselves are good ingredients to get good results.
“We have to maintain that and we have to be proud of that. We have two back-to-back home games (Barnsley are the visitors on Saturday), and we have to ensure that we maintain those levels at home and ensure we get positive results in order to remain in this league.”
Defenders Stephen Jordan and Tyler Forbes may be back in contention tonight, but Antoni Sarcevic and Nathan Pond are still unavailable due to injury and Bobby Grant is set to start his three-match ban after he was sent off for violent conduct at Burton.
With 40 points on the board, a five-point cushion above the bottom four and 11 games remaining, Pressley says he has a points tally in mind that will guarantee safety – but he refused to reveal the magic number.
He said: “The results went in our favour at the weekend but I’m not overly concerned with other results.
“ If we reach the appropriate points tally we don’t have to concern ourselves with anybody else.
“Our goal is solely getting to that points tally which I believe will keep us in this league. I know myself what we must achieve in the final 11 fixtures.”
Jon Whitney took the reins at promotion-chasing Walsall after Sean O’Driscoll’s sacking nine days ago and enjoyed a thumping win in his first game back at the helm, 4-1 against Chesterfield.
Pressley said: “It is difficult to look at Walsall further back than one game, when they made a managerial change.
“What went before is likely to be different, so we have scrutinised the last game.
“They played really well, deserved their 4-1 victory and looked like a team playing with confidence again.
“They have a good core of players and it will take another good performance to win.
“But we have proved over the last four or five games that we are more than a match for any team at that end of the table ... if we do things properly.
“In those games we’ve probably played four of the best four teams in the league (Coventry, Gillingham, Sheffield United and Burton).
“We’ve only lost one of those four games – that tells me we are a very capable side.”