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Preview: Fleetwood Town v Wycombe Wanderers


Wycombe Wanderers' renaissance under caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth continued in midweek with a morale-boosting 3-1 win over League One side Portsmouth in the Football League Trophy.

The second round tie at Fratton Park was just 13 seconds old when winger Joel Grant curled a delightful shot past home goalkeeper Simon Eastwood from the edge of the box. Soon afterwards it was 2-0 when striker Dean Morgan bundled the ball home after a goalmouth scramble. Striker Jo Kuffour twice hit the post before Morgan sealed the win in the second half when he showed his contortionist skills to head home the rebound after his initial penalty had been saved by Eastwood.

Gareth Ainsworth made six changes to the side for the clash with goalkeeper Nikki Bull making a welcome return from a pulled thigh muscle. Matt Ingram also made a quicker than expected recovery from knee surgery to take his place on the bench and that has seen loan goalkeeper Jordan Archer return to Spurs. Defenders Anthony Stewart and Dave Winfield came in for Gary Doherty and Leon Johnson whilst Matt Spring and Bruno Andrade replaced Stuart Lewis and Gareth Ainsworth. Dean Morgan took the place of Matt McClure in attack.

There were a number of positives to take, apart from the victory itself, which comes on the back of the 2-1 win over Torquay United at Adams Park last weekend. Dave Winfield put in his best display in many-a-month whilst goalkeeper Nikki Bull returned from injury to make his usual string of fine saves. Perhaps the greatest positive to take from the game was the performance which was light years ahead of that witnessed against AFC Wimbledon less than three weeks again.

It is to Gareth Ainsworth's utmost credit that he has turned around this collection of players in such a short space of time. He has them playing with confidence and belief and they are starting to show the best of their collective abilities. It has to be collective too, otherwise the results don't follow. A quick glance at the League Two table serves as a sobering reminder that there is still much ground to be made up and to do so results will have to follow. There is at least now some realistic hope that they can and will.

Fleetwood Town are enjoying their inaugural season in the Football League having won the Conference Premier title last season. The club have been built upon the money / investment of owner Andy Pilley and the millions of pounds spent on both their Highbury Avenue ground and on several players who could be playing at a higher levels has certainly paid dividends to date. Their average attendance last season was a rather disappointing 2,264 but they will be pleased with the current growth which stands at 3,138 following promotion.

This weekend's clash will be only the second ever meeting between the two sides. The first came last season and it certainly was one to forget for the Wanderers who were beaten 2-0 at Highbury Avenue to become the first league side to be beaten in the F.A. Cup by the Cod Army. The hosts dominated the first round tie despite having striker Richard Brodie sent-off in the first half for throwing an elbow at Dave Winfield who endured a torrid time with striker Jamie Vardy sealing the victory late-on after striker Andy Mangan's first half strike. In the aftermath of the defeat striker Scott Rendell admitted the team 'didn't want it enough.'

Gareth Ainsworth will not accept anything like that and will be tempted to make as few changes as possible. The only real dilemma comes in the centre of defence with Anthony Stewart and particularly Dave Winfield stating a case for a starting place although both Gary Doherty and Leon Johnson have done little wrong in the last two league game. Matt Spring may well continue alongside the in-form Josh Scowen in the middle of the park whilst Dean Morgan and Jo Kuffour are likely to reprise their partnership in attack.

It seems unlikely that Ainsworth will start, with loanee Bruno Andrade set to make his league debut for the Blues after joining on a months loan from QPR in midweek. Midfielder Stuart Lewis could be named on the bench having returned to training after a rip injury. Midfielder Matt Bloomfield has missed the last seven weeks with a troublesome groin strain and is expected to back in training by the end of next week. The same applies to striker Matt McClure who has a minor hamstring strain.

That leaves four players still sidelined. Midfielder Sam Wood is hoping to return to training on Monday after knee ligament injury whilst striker Dennis Oli is two weeks behind him with an ankle ligament injury. Full-back Marvin McCoy continues his rehabilitation after fracturing his left fibula and damaging ankle ligaments and is targeting a return to training at the start of November. Full-back Grant Basey has had surgery after damaging his anterior cruciate ligaments and will miss the rest of the season.

The Wanderers starting eleven may look something like this (4-4-2):

Nikki Bull

Danny Foster - Gary Doherty - Leon Johnson - Charles Dunne

Joel Grant - Josh Scowen - Matt Spring - Bruno Andrade

Dean Morgan - Jo Kuffour

Subs: Matt Ingram, Anthony Stewart, Dave Winfield, Stuart Lewis, Gareth Ainsworth, Junior Morais, Oliver Taylor.


Fleetwood Town currently sit in 3rd place in the League Two table and are unbeaten in their last four matches. The league newboys have lost just twice so far in the league and have won three, drawn one and lost one at home (5-2 to Port Vale). They have however been knocked out of both the Football League Cup and Trophy.

Manager Micky Mellon has added experienced defender Rob Edwards to his squad on loan from Barnsley this week. He went with a more defensive 4-5-1 formation for the 2-2 draw with Cheltenham Town last time out and they needed an injury-time equaliser from winger Junior Brown to rescue a point (which prompted ex-Chairboy Alan Bennett to lose his cool and receive a red card for violent conduct!). Mellon may revert to a 4-4-2 formation against the Blues with loan striker Tom Barhuizen likely to partner David Ball in attack.

He does have other options in attack with ex-Colchester United striker Steven Gillespie and erstwhile Wycombe nemesis Jon Parkin both available. Striker Andy Mangan is unlikely to be involved however as he is struggling with a knee injury. Defender Dean Howell is ruled-out with an ankle injury. Fleetwood may line-up something like this (4-4-2):

Scott Davies

Shaun Beeley - Steve McNulty - Youl Mawene - Alan Goodall

Barry Nicholson - Damien Johnson - Jamie McGuire - Junior Brown

David Ball - Tom Barhuizen

Subs: Chris Maxwell, Conor McLaughlin, Rob Edwards, Alex Marrow, Jamie Milligan, Jon Parkin, Steven Gillespie


The league table currently shows Wycombe in 22nd place with 8 points from 10 games and Fleetwood in 3rd spot with 21 points from 11 games.


Fleetwood Home Record...W 3 - D 1 - L 1 - Pts 10...Ppg 2.00 (Rank-5)

Wycombe Away Record....W 1 - D 0 - L 4 - Pts 3.....Ppg 0.60 (Rank-21)


Fleetwood's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Port Vale (H)...............Lost 2-5

Lg2: Bristol Rovers (A)......Drew 0-0

Lg2: Barnet (H)..................Won 1-0

Lg2: York (A).....................Won 2-0

Lg2: Cheltenham (A).........Drew 2-2


Wycombe's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: AFC Wimbledon (H)......Lost 0-1

Lg2: Dag & Red (A)..............Lost 0-3

Lg2: Plymouth (H)..............Drew 1-1

Lg2: Torquay (H).................Won 2-1

JPT: Portsmouth (A).............Won 3-1


Fleetwood Goal Stats (13 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 18...Cups: 2...Total: 20

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 10...Cups: 3...Total: 13

Goals Scored (Home).........Lg: 9.....Cups: 0...Total: 9

Goals Conceded (Home).....Lg: 7.....Cups: 1...Total: 8

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 6.....Cups: 0...Total: 6


Wycombe Goal Stats (12 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 10...Cups: 3...Total: 13

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 16...Cups: 2...Total: 18

Goals Scored (Away).........Lg: 6.....Cups: 3...Total: 9

Goals Conceded (Away).....Lg: 11...Cups: 2...Total: 13

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 0.....Cups: 0...Total: 0


Fleetwood's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Junior Brown...........5

Jon Parkin...............3

David Ball...............2

Steven Gillespie.......2

Andy Mangan...........2

Jamie McGuire.........2

Four other players have each scored 1 goal.


Wycombe's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Dean Morgan............3

OG..........................2

Gareth Ainsworth......1

Stuart Beavon..........1

Matt Bloomfield.........1

Gary Doherty...........1

Joel Grant................1

Matt McClure............1

Josh Scowen............1

Sam Wood...............1


Fleetwood Shooting (Top-3) - League Only

Jon Parkin..........12 on-target...12 off-target...2 against woodwork

Junior Brown.......12 on-target....7 off-target...2 against woodwork

Andy Mangan......11 on-target....8 off-target...2 against woodwork


Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - League Only

Joel Grant..............3 on-target...8 off-target...0 against woodwork

Joe Kuffour............4 on-target...4 off-target...0 against woodwork

Gareth Ainsworth....2 on-target...5 off-target...0 against woodwork


Shooting (Club) - League only

Fleetwood.....69 on target...62 off target...11 against w'work (Rank-4)

Wycombe.....29 on target...38 off target.....0 against w'work (Rank-24)


Most Assists

Fleetwood - Andy Mangan.............6

Wycombe - Ainsworth & Grant.......2


League Form Guide

All Season


Fleetwood....Pld: 11...W: 6...D: 3...L: 2...Pts: 21...Pts per game: 1.91

Wycombe....Pld: 10...W: 2...D: 2...L: 6...Pts: 8.....Pts per game: 0.80


Last Five league Games

Fleetwood......LDWWD - 8 points (Rank-10)

Wycombe........LLLDW - 4 points (Rank-21)


Last Five League Games (Home)

Fleetwood.....DWWLW - 10 points (Rank-6)


Last Five League Games (Away)

Wycombe.........WLLLL - 3 points (Rank-21)


Against Top Half Opposition

Fleetwood.....Pld: 5...Pts: 5...Pts per game: 1.00...(Rank-12)

Wycombe.....Pld: 5...Pts: 4...Pts per game: 0.80...(Rank-16)


Against Bottom Half Opposition

Fleetwood......Pld: 6...Pts: 16...Pts per game: 2.66...(Rank-1)

Wycombe......Pld: 5...Pts: 4.....Pts per game: 0.80...(Rank-23)


Previous Meetings

2011/12 FAC: Fleetwood 2 Wycombe 0


The Man In The Middle

Saturday's referee is Stephen Bratt from the West Midlands who was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2006. He missed the whole of 2010/11 and spent last season back in the Conference. His most recent Wycombe game was a truly horrible 4-1 defeat at home to Yeovil Town in February 2010. During the current campaign he's issued 0 red and 11 yellow cards in 6 appearances.


Predictions

Benny: Fleetwood 2 Wycombe 0

Len: Fleetwood 2 Wycombe 2




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The Journalist

Writer: Benny & Len Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday October 11 2012

Time: 3:02PM

 

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