Market Movers: Fleetwood flying in League One

Market Movers: Fleetwood flying in League One

Fleetwood Town have had an excellent start to their League One campaign, with 20 points from their first 10 games.

Their current return over 46 league games would leave them on 92 points, enough for automatic promotion in four of the last five third-tier seasons.

Town were as big as 6/1 with SkyBet for a top two finish in mid-September but have now been reduced to 3/1 as their quality is being recognized.

Gabriel Sutton (@_FootbalLab) analyses their promotion credentials.

Madden magic

Paddy Madden is always an asset at League One level.

He top-scored in 2012-13, Yeovil’s promotion campaign, then fired consistently for Scunthorpe in 2014-15 and 2015-16, before moving to Fleetwood and scoring 32 goals in all competitions on the Fylde coast.

The most recent of those was a ruthless, first-time finish in the Cod Army’s impressive 3-0 victory at Scunthorpe.

In Ched Evans, Fleetwood have another striker who is proven in the third-tier, so they possess quality in depth.

Coutts and Rossiter

While Madden and Evans are both assets for Fleetwood, they had both last season – and of course, last season, they missed out on the top six by 12 points, so why should we believe things have changed?

The answer is Paul Coutts and Jordon Rossiter.

In 2018-19, Fleetwood were clinical in the final third but not as much of an influence in the middle third and struggled to truly control their games.

Coutts, though, was among the best midfielders in the Championship prior to a long-term injury picked up in 2017 – he is showing his class in the division below and, according to Fleetwood fans, “never gives the ball away”.

Rossiter, meanwhile, is very highly rated at parent club Rangers and, in his previous loan spell, at promoted Bury, he was a metronomic presence.

Coutts and Rossiter have improved Fleetwood’s midfield massively.

Morris’ return

Fleetwood fans know all about Josh Morris, given the role he played in their 2013-14 promotion campaign under Graham Alexander.

Morris then followed Alexander to Scunthorpe, where he found incredible goalscoring form in 2016.

He struggled to have the same influence at Glanford Park under subsequent managers Nick Daws and Stuart McCall but has certainly shown his quality since returning to Fleetwood.

The one-time Blackburn graduate has operated on the left of an attacking trio and loves to make late runs into goalscoring positions, bagging four times already.

On the opposite side of the attacking trio is Wes Burns, a direct runner who stretches play superbly down the right.

Full-backs make it work

We saw at Luton last season how important full-backs are to a successful team – perhaps increasingly so at this level.

Fleetwood have two gems in Lewie Coyle and Danny Andrew.

Right-back Coyle already has three assists this season, he had 82 touches in the previous game – more than any other Fleetwood player – which shows how busy he is in general play.

Andrew, on the other side, is another key man.

The left-back won Player of the Year at Grimsby in 2016-17, he was then a key part of Doncaster’s Play-Off finish last season and is among the best in his position below the Championship.

The 28-year-old delivers pin-point crosses and is a direct threat from set-pieces, having scored two goals this term.

Between the full-backs are Harry Souttar, staring on loan from Stoke and Jimmy Dunne, who showed in Accrington Stanley’s 2017-18 League Two title win that he can be an outstanding centre-back with immaculate reading of the game.

The court case

With things going so well on the field, the event most likely to hinder Fleetwood’s prospects could come off it.

Joey Barton faces a hearing, on Wednesday 9th October, at Barnsley Magistrates Court over allegations of causing actual bodily harm to Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel after the pair met in April’s fixture.

Until that official verdict is reached, it would be legally correct to avoid speculating about what happened at Oakwell and what the implications of the situation will be for Barnsley.

However, it cannot be denied that the outcome of the hearing will have a significant bearing on Fleetwood’s promotion chances.