Rejuvenated Fleetwood relishes his striking role

BANG in-form Stuart Fleetwood is reaping the benefits of finally being played in his preferred striking role with another two goals during the 3-0 victory over Ebbsfleet United on Tuesday night, writes Mike Simmonds.

Thursday, 19th April 2012, 11:00 am

Under former boss Gary Brabin, the forward was in and out of the team, while when he was selected, he was rarely played through the middle, often ending up stuck out on the wing.

Since Paul Buckle took over though, Fleetwood has been paired with Andre Gray in a central striking berth and the results are there for all to see, with four goals in three matches.

He said: “I’ll play wherever I’m put, I’m that sort of player, I’ll try and give it my all, but my preferred role is through the middle.

“I’ve played it all my career and I know that role. Hopefully the goals I’m scoring is reflecting that.

“I’m always going to be based on goals, so four in my last three since the new manager has come in is great for me.

“I’ve got an understanding now with Andre (Gray) and Robbie (Willmott), the three up front. If one of us can’t get in the others fill in, that’s the way it’s working.”

Buckle has made his admiration of the forward well known, admitting he tried to acquire him at his former clubs.

The confidence that has brought to Fleetwood’s game is quite clear as he now has 15 goals for the season and has his sights set on the 20-mark.

He continued: “I knew that he tried to sign me a few times for Torquay and Bristol Rovers at the start of the season.

“I knew he was a fan of mine and since he’s come in he’s been great with all the lads. He’s told them exactly what he think of them and that shows in our performances.

“It’s the same for every striker. You can go through a little lull patch and when you’re in and out of the team it’s difficult to find consistency, but I’m full of confidence at the moment, shooting from all over the place.

“My first target is to get into double figures and I managed to do that, so to reach 20 goals will be fantastic, but I’d much rather get promoted.”

Since Buckle took over, Town’s attacking play has shown huge signs of improvement, with Hatters creating chance after chance on Tuesday night, something that had been sorely lacking prior to his appointment.

That has been down to a heavier emphasis on fitness in training and Fleetwood is glad the extra work is paying off.

He said: “The first thing the manager wants is hard work from his strikers and I think we’ve given that in the last few games.

“Andre has been outstanding and luckily we’ve both chipped in with a couple of goals as well, so if we can keep that going then excellent.

“I just think he (Buckle) wants to have everyone at the same sort of fitness consistency, the same level as everyone else.

“It’s just to get everyone up to scratch as everyone’s going to be needed for this run-in.”

If Town are going to make it into the play-offs, then they are definitely going to have to do it the hard way.

Kidderminster make the trip to Kenilworth Road on Saturday, with Harriers occupying the last play-off spot, just two points ahead of Luton.

Town then have the unenviable task of travelling to Gateshead and Fleetwood in their final two matches, but the striker knows two wins will be enough to secure their top-five place.

He added: “It’s (Kidderminster) a massive game now. We wanted to make sure that the game in hand was three points and we did.

“I don’t think they’ll be looking forward too much to coming here.

“While Gateshead we’ve beaten twice, so we know what sort of game to expect up there.

“Fleetwood last game, it may now even come down to that, we’re not sure. But the old cliché, we’re going to have to take every game is it comes.

“Saturday’s the first one and if we win that, we’ll be in a great position.”

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