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In opposition: Fleetwood Town - form guide

17 March 2022

Head coach Stephen Crainey has been given a tough introduction to life in senior management since taking the reins at Fleetwood Town in November.

Injuries, young players and what Crainey himself has termed ‘no luck at all’ have all contributed to a season of struggle for the Cod Army. 

Fleetwood are closing out their eighth season in Sky Bet League One with a battle to remain in the division. 

They have targeted the top six more than looked over their shoulder at the bottom four during their time in the third tier and were beaten by Wycombe Wanderers in the semi-finals of the 2019/20 play-offs. 

The last two seasons have proved to be more of a struggle for Fleetwood however and Crainey is the club’s third manager in less than 18 months, following Joey Barton and Simon Grayson. 

Fleetwood’s rise through non-league to the EFL was meteoric, reaching the National League in 2010 before becoming a full-time professional outfit. 

The story of Jamie Vardy is well told and the England striker powered the Cod Army to promotion to the EFL with an incredible 34 goals in 40 appearances during the 2011/12 campaign. 

Within two years the club had earned promotion to League One with and Antoni Sarcevic free kick helping them see off Burton Albion in the League Two play-off final at Wembley. 

Backward steps have not been common for the club but they face the possibility of finally taking one this season. 

They prepare to welcome Rovers this weekend sitting 19th in League One on 33 points, which puts them level with AFC Wimbledon and Gillingham but with a superior goal difference, and a single point above the drop zone. 

Fleetwood’s form this season has brought them seven wins and 12 draws from 37 matches, 

Crainey’s side have failed to win in their last 12 matches and enter this weekend’s game on a run of five straight defeats. 

Their last wins came in a South Yorkshire double header – winning 1-0 at Rovers on January 8 before seeing off Rotherham United by the same scoreline a week later. 

Fleetwood have conceded the fourth most goals in the division and have managed only five clean sheets this term. However four of those shutouts have brought wins. 

Goalscoring has not proven to be an issue for Crainey’s men with Cheltenham Town the only other side in the bottom half to find the net more often so far this season. 

Holding onto leads has proven to be no simple task. They gave up a three goal lead to draw 3-3 with Portsmouth last month and lost 3-2 to Burton Albion last weekend having led 2-0. 

Their record against fellow strugglers has been good this season, with only one defeat from six matches so far against sides in the bottom six. 

Since coming up against each other for the first time in 2014, Fleetwood have always had the edge over Rovers with seven wins and three draws from 13 matches. Of the last seven meetings, Rovers have won just once. 

Rovers have never won at Highbury and are currently on a run of three straight defeats at Fleetwood with eight goals conceded during those matches. 

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