Simon Grayson's 'tweaks' worked a treat as Fleetwood thrive on competition for places

Simon Grayson is pleased the "tweaks" he made to his Fleetwood Town side for the Highbury victory over Gillingham worked so well because he admits changing a winning team isn't easy.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 8:00 am
Ged Garner has become a regular starter in recent Fleetwood games and boss Simon Grayson praised his 'clever' play

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Town's head coach is a believer in consistent selection but on Tuesday he made two changes to the team which had won at Lincoln City and Shrewsbury Town over the previous week.

Janoi Donacien and Harrison Holgate came in for Wes Burns and Ryan Rydel, and Grayson's actions were justified with another win and a second successive clean sheet.

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But such changes don't come easily to Grayson, who admitted: "I do like to be consistent with team selection because players like to know that if they are playing well they will keep the shirt.

"Sometimes you have to tweak it a little but I've seen a really good spirit from day one and I know the players will stick together.

"They give a bit of a rollicking to each other at times and I don't mind that - it's healthy that they can do that."

As for the changes he made for the Gills challenge, Grayson explained: "We knew exactly what it was going to be like and I wanted three centre-halves in there.

"Wes had played quite a lot of games after a five-week lay-off, so we decided to give him a breather.

"Sometimes you have to pick specific teams for specific games and there were certain players we thought it wasn't going to suit - maybe Ryan Rydel - so we mixed it up and that's why you have a squad.

"We thrive on competition and the players on the pitch have to be looking over their shoulder because if they are not performing others will be desperate to take their shirt."

Town's front two of Ged Garner and Kyle Vassell have been paired throughout Town's winning run, keeping out the club's record goalscorer Paddy Madden since his recovery from Covid.

Grayson added: "I thought Kyle possibly had his best game on Tuesday night. He held it up, ran the channels and Ged has done really well too.

"He floats around, not in an out-and-out striker's role but he gets into pockets as a no.10 and he's clever. We can play the ball into him and he can be the link.

"We've got Madden coming off the bench, who is itching to be in the team. You need competition for places and it's great to have that."

Grayson's planning paid off as his side passed a demanding test with flying colours.

The Town boss said: "I told the young boys at half-time that if you didn't know what you were going to get against a team like that you know now. But we did well first half and took the sting out of the game.

"We were relatively strong at set-pieces and were able to deal with people. When we needed to defend and put blocks in we did, when Alex Cairns needed to makes saves he did and everything we needed to do to win a game we did.

"So it's going well at the moment and we just have to keep it going for the rest of the season."

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