Fleetwood Town's players are more than ready for a rest
Simon Grayson feels his Fleetwood Town players are ready for a break after a long, hard-fought season.
The Cod Army have had little respite since returning to action after Covid-19 curtailed the 2019/20 League One campaign last year.
Town were in fifth place when the season was placed on hiatus in March 2020, having looked well set to challenge for a place in the top two.
Once the points-per-game method was applied, they slipped to sixth but stayed in the play-off places for a semi-final against Wycombe Wanderers last July, returning to action after a four-month break.
After losing over two legs against the eventual play-off winners, there was little time for Town to relax with the new season starting at the beginning of September.
Nevertheless, they began with four consecutive league and cup wins only to follow those with four straight defeats in all competitions.
Joey Barton left in January with Town 10th in League One, albeit only three points adrift of the play-off places.
Grayson arrived at the end of that month and has been full of praise for the players’ application since then.
He said: “I think the players are looking forward to a break now and are ready for one. I think it’s been a really tough period of time for them.
“When last season ended they had to come back and do the play-offs, then had a short break and then pre-season, ready for a demanding season in a short space of time.
“Obviously, this season has been the same for everybody but when you bring the play-offs into the equation, then it’s been a bit of a long drag for these players.
“Their attitude has been spot-on and I’m really pleased to have worked with them so far.
“It isn’t just a normal season – it goes back to the end of last season and full credit to the players.
“Since I’ve been at the football club, there hasn’t been a day go by when the players haven’t shown the right attitude in training.
“We’ve never really had to galvanise them and that’s testament to the attitude they have and the characters in that dressing room.”
Town saw out their home fixtures with a 1-1 draw against MK Dons last weekend, completing a full season without fans at Highbury.
Test events were planned, with the club keen to see fans return, but those didn’t come to fruition.
Grayson is hoping to finally take charge of a Town game in front of supporters next season and wants a strong finish when they travel to Ipswich Town on Sunday (12pm).
He said: “At this stage of the season, you are always going to be thinking what’s going to happen next.
“Normally, at this time you are talking about players being on the beach.
“Well, they won’t be on a beach given the Covid but they are ready for a rest.
“They have shown a really good attitude in the games over the last few weeks and we want the same again next weekend at Ipswich.
“Next time we’re at Highbury, I’m sure there will be new players here, hopefully we’ll have supporters back and we can have a really successful season.”
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 per month for the first two months. Try us today by clicking here