Key player: Ched Evans
After featuring 35 times for the Cod Army last year, Evans became an essential cog in Joey Barton’s impressive machine. Amassing a total of 17 goal contributions throughout the season, Evans’ clinical finishing proved to be a key asset to his team. The vastly successful striker would be considered by many as a Championship striker and brief Championship spell with Sheffield United proves this. With him in their side, Barton knows his side can steal points even when they’re not playing well, a key trait needed for any side with promotion ambitions.
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Manager: Joey Barton
Many were surprised when former England midfielder Joey Barton was given the reigns at Fleetwood Town but his appointment has turned out to be quite an effective decision. Barton’s versatility has seen his Fleetwood team acquire a vast amount of success in comparison to the stature of the club. Although he appears to operate his team primarily in a 4-3-3 formation, his teams are noted to be capable of playing with a 3 or 5 at the back when necessary and have even operated with a 4-4-2 on occasion. That versatility helped them adapt to a tricky looking league last season and steal a play-off place, only to fail miserably in the play-offs against a wily Wycombe side. Happens to the best of us.
Creator: Josh Morris
Plymouth Argyle fans will know this player for all the wrong reasons, but Morris proved his worth in League 1 last year by amassing a total of 6 assists with an additional 9 goals to his name. The former Scunthorpe winger is a keen dribbler and has an impressive eye for goal whilst also demonstrating an effective set-piece from both the spot and outside the area.
Morris’ play style is very adaptable as the winger is seen receiving the ball wide and darting inwards in the attempt to curl a shot to the far post as well as receiving the ball in the centre and acting as a ball carrier. With 43 appearances across all competitions last year Morris is certainly a name to look out for when the Cod Army visits Home Park on the 13th of February.
Last season: 6th in League One
An impressive season saw Fleetwood Town only lose 7 league games during the 2019/20 campaign. Though the season was cut short, this is still an impressive return for any team. Town fans may have been left wondering what could have been as Fleetwood finished the season unbeaten in 9, including victories against promotion rivals Peterborough, Portsmouth, and their play-off villains Wycombe Wanderers. Had the season lasted just a bit longer, they might have pinched the second promotion place.
With the guidance of Barton, Fleetwood Town have transitioned to a promotion contender in League One despite the club’s stature being somewhat smaller than the division. They’ll hope that doesn’t change next season.
Key transfer: Callum Camps
Joey Barton has strengthened his Fleetwood Town side this season with the introduction of former Rochdale midfielder Callum Camps. Camps was key to Rochdale last season, not only as a creator and goal scorer but also in his ability to dictate play. Putting aside his influence in the middle of the pitch, Camps notched 8 goals and 8 assists in all competitions last season which is a tidy return for the midfielder whom operates primarily as an 8 or a 10.
The Stockport born midfielder also took the captain’s armband on a few occasions last year, having done so in previous years too, which indicates that he possesses some leadership qualities and at only 24 years of age he is only likely to get better. On paper, a great addition to Fleetwood’s midfield.
After an impressive season last year, Fleetwood Town will look to push on from what was a successful 2019/20 campaign, although I think it is safe to say a push for the automatic would be a tall ask with the significant strength in League One this year after the relegation of some big Championship names. A repeat of last season wouldn’t go unappreciated.
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