Fleetwood Town players are challenged to impress against AFC Wimbledon
Simon Grayson is determined to see his Fleetwood Town side match the intensity and desire of AFC Wimbledon this afternoon.
Back-to-back defeats have probably ended Town’s hopes of a late charge for the League One play-offs, though most of their remaining eight games will have a bearing on promotion and relegation issues.
That starts today at Wimbledon, who find themselves in the bottom four after Friday’s defeat at Plymouth Argyle ended their four-game unbeaten run.
It then continues with Town’s next two games against the bottom and top clubs, Rochdale and Hull City.
Grayson says that playing in such crunch contests will keep his side’s season alive and he is demanding total commitment.
The head coach said after Friday’s 1-0 defeat by second-placed Peterborough United: “We’re back in on Saturday, we’ll be in Sunday and then we travel down to London. Easter is a quick turnaround.
“It will be a different type of game because they are fighting to get out of the bottom four. On Friday we played a team desperate to stay in the top two and that’s what this stage of the season brings.
“Especially in our division, there aren’t too many games you would say are dead rubbers. The teams you are playing will all have something to play for.
“That will keep our season alive and we’ll have to make sure we do the business and try to get back to winning ways.”
Asked how his side, who are 14 points clear of Wimbledon, would match their hosts’ intensity, Grayson replied: “The personal pride of the players and my demands of the players.
“Regardless of whether you have signed a contract long-term or short-term, you are still looking to impress.
“Or if you are leaving the football club you are looking to impress somebody else to give you a contract for the summer.
“I have high standards for the players and we want to end the season positively. We don’t want to let it fizzle away.
“We want to finish as high as possible and that means trying to win at Wimbledon on Monday.”
One player who could be involved at Plough Lane is Swansea City loanee Barrie McKay, who made his first appearance for seven weeks as a stoppage-time substitute against Posh.
One of three Town players reported to have contracted coronavirus following the mid-February defeat at Plymouth Argyle, the winger had not featured again until his Good Friday cameo.
Grayson said: “We’ve got a few players out of the squad.
“Mark Duffy has been back training recently as well, so we utilise the squad.
“Barrie has been in and around the first-team squad. He hasn’t been on the bench but he has impressed.
“Players are judged on every training session you do or games you have, and players are on the bench or not on the bench sometimes because of their attitudes or performances.
“So we take everything into consideration. Do we freshen things up? Have people done well or not done as well as you expected?
“Ultimately that’s where your 18 comes from on a matchday.”
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