Grezza backs young guns

Fleetwood Town's Declan McManus celebrates scoring his sides first goal  with Antoni Sarcevic
Fleetwood Town's Declan McManus celebrates scoring his sides first goal with Antoni Sarcevic
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Graham Alexander inists there’s plenty more to come from his young guns despite Fleetwood being pegged back late on in their League One opener against Southend.

Declan McManus looked to have sealed the points for Town with his stunning first- half strike at Highbury .

But Shrimpers substitute Dave Worrall scored an 84th- minute equaliser with a cross-cum-shot from the left which Fleetwood should have cleared.

Town named four debutants in their starting 11 as well as Bobby Grant, who had managed just 36 minutes in a Fleetwood shirt during his loan spell from Blackpool.

And McManus’ 25-yard piledriver showed the potential within the squad on a frantic afternoon of end-to-end football – the 21-year-old went close to adding a second when he rattled the woodwork.

Alexander has overseen a major summer rebuild and the former Preston defender admitted he was disappointed not to take three points off his former boss Phil Brown.

“I thought we played some good stuff,” he said. “I’m disappointed we got the point because we took the lead with a fantastic goal from Declan.

“We had some other good opportunities, and Vamara Sanogo has had a chance just before they scored.

“We’re disappointed we didn’t extend our lead from 1-0 but we had to stick our tin hats on in the second half.

“There were a lot of balls coming into our box and you have to defend every one of them. They got their goal from one but it’s a positive point.”

Southend were promoted via the play-offs and Fleetwood know what momentum that can give a side And Brown’s Shrimpers showed plenty of confidence as well as quality to secure a well deserved point.

But Alexander was pleased with the way his inexperienced side stood up to the test, though he admitted there was still plenty for them to learn.

He said: “Southend are on a high from promotion last season and the early signs from our young team look good.

“There are little things we need to learn now.

“A few lads were making their English league debuts.

“It’s great for the club to have that freshness coming in.

“It’s a game we should have won and could have, but unfortunately one of those long balls went in and they scored.”

The most impressive display from the new recruits came from Jimmy Ryan, who only enhanced his reputation as an influential midfield playmaker.

“Jimmy’s a quality footballer,” said Alexander

“We’ve seen it in pre-season and he’s put another top performance in.

“We know what he’s capable of and there’s plenty more of that to come.”

As for McManus, Alexander knows the hotshot Scot has set the bar high

“We know what he can do but we weren’t expecting a finish like that,” the manager added.

“He’s been unlucky not to find the net in pre-season – having a header disallowed against Getafe and forcing a great save at Kilmarnock

“It’s a great start and hopefully he’ll produce more.”

Town are thrown straight back into action tomorrow, when Hartlepool United are the visitors in the first round of the Capital One Cup.