He could play his 100th game for Fleetwood Town against Rochdale tomorrow and midfield maestro Kyle Dempsey has a message for the Cod Army: the best is yet to come.
The 22-year-old is looking forward to another clash with Premier League Leicester City in the League Cup this month and is hopeful that Town can compete for promotion, just as they did in his first season at the club in 2016/17.
Dempsey looks forward to this weekend’s milestone game hoping to add to his three goals, a figure he feels would be higher but for the defensive duties forced on him before new boss Joey Barton arrived.
He said: “I still feel there is more to come from me. I have told fans from the start that I wanted to add goals to my game.
“I feel they have not seen that side of me because I have been held back in a kind of central defensive mid rather than an attacking mid role.
“But since the gaffer has come in he has given me that confidence and freedom which I needed.
“I proved it on Saturday (in the 2-0 win at Oxford), when I picked the ball up and was running past players. That is my strength.
“I popped up with the assist for Ched (Evans) and I was unfortunate not to score. I should have scored.
“You can see promising signs of what is to come from me this season.”
Dempsey says it has been a privilege to play so many games for Town, having signed permanently last summer after a season on loan from Huddersfield.
He said: “I said from the start that I wanted regular first-team football. I played 50 games in my breakthrough season at Carlise (2014/15), then jumped two leagues to the Championship, where I played 20-odd but then did not make the squad.
“Fleetwood welcomed me in and I don’t think I have missed a game when I have been fit. It has been a real privilege to come here.”
Town will face Leicester, the only Premier League club they have every played competitively, for a second successive season.
The League Cup second- round tie at the King Power the week after next is a repeat of January’s FA Cup third-round clash, which the Foxes won 2-0 after a goalless draw at Highbury.
Ahead of last night’s draw, Dempsey said he wanted to be paired with a club like Leicester again. He said: “It was great experience against players of that calibre, some of the best in the world.
“If we get one of those teams again, it will be good for the club and the squad.”