Last season’s 10th placed finish showed that there is much more to come from Fleetwood Town in the seasons to come. The squad average age of just 24 backs this up, Ashley Hunter and Nick Haughton both blossomed after Christmas and will stake a claim for a regular spot throughout the new season.
Despite finishing just 6 points adrift of the play-offs, the Cod Men failed to break the 50 goal barrier. 49 the total, nearly 20 away from Chesterfield United, who broke into 6th place late on In the season. This suggests that Graham Alexander needs to add a 20 goal a year striker to fulfil his promotion dreams. Despite spending three years in the football League, their low attendances and low profile squad makes it relatively difficult to attract the big names. Varama Sanogo has been plucked from the unknown to have a shot at League Two. He impressed on trial with the club so has now been brought in from French club FC Metz to get the goals flowing at the Highbury Stadium.
He is likely to be supported by Gareth Evans, who can play in a multitude of attacking posotions. Regardless of where he plays he is certain to add a determination factor that some other teams seem to lack in this league. His meticulous crossing and sharp shooting mean that he should link up well with his new team mate, Sanogo. Elsewhere in the midfield, the huge void left by Steven Schumacher will be filled by experienced Iceland international Eggert Jonsson. The 27-year-old spent time in England with Charlton Athletic and Wolves but more recently played for Vestajaellend in the Danish top flight. The one thing I have against the signing of Jonsson is his comparability with fellow defensive midfielder Keith Southern. Both have made a career of marshaling backline’s aggressive tackling, and impeccable positioning are the key attributes they both rely on. Southern reached his peak while with Blackpool in the Premier League where he failed to beat off a relegation that almost everybody thought was inevitable. The one thing you do get from Jonsson that Southern cannot offer, is his ability to play at the heart of the defence, which may come in handy with Mark Roberts departing for Cambridge United.
No matter how hard I try, I can’t see promotion becoming reality for Fleetwood Town. Graham Alexander has proved all he can at the Highbury Stadium, but the failure to bring in a goal scoring machine up front will prove costly. Both Jamie Proctor and Ashley Hunter have proved in spurts that they can fulfil this pivotal position but in the long term, throughout a trudging season, I’m afraid they can’t do it. Nathan Pond provides the fire and passion that drives the team forward on a day to day basis, but again, if they were to reach the Championship, you wouldn’t the local legend as a second tier standard defender. Together with to be fair looks like an impressive midfield, mid table obscurity will be the order taken this season, no better, no worse, promotion is far out of sight for now.