Tuesday, October 05, 2010




Fleetwood are a team that I have returned to time and time again in recent seasons, they are a club with massive ambition and starting with a poor stadium and average crowds of just 135 six short years ago, they have now developed into a major player in the Conference, where they are seen by others as one of the big three spenders alongside Luton and Crawley. Investment has been made not just in the playing staff, more of that later, but also in ground developement with the stadium now ready for League football and in the pitch itself, which they spent £250,000 on last season, as a sixth tier side, that is incredible financial clout and belief in what they are trying to achieve.

They have a lot of experience amongst the playing staff, with the squad for the last game having over 2,000 league games between them, Thorpe and Alan Wright whom you might remember from his Aston Villa days account for almost half of those and man for man, this is a squad that in terms of depth, is as strong as any in the Conference. Boss Micky Mellon has clearly bought into the dream, leaving a secure job with Burnley to become the first full time manager in Town's history, he has overseen almost non stop success in his two years in charge and with his team unbeaten in eight , up to third in the table and not having seen anything to scare him so far this season, will see anything less than another promotion push as failure.

They are extremely well organised, as you would expect from a team with so much experience, especially at the back and on the road only leaders Crawley have a stronger record. They have only lost twice this season, to Luton who few teams can live with on a going day and whom they met early on, when they were still coming to terms with life at this level and Southport whom they have history with after coming up together, I am prepared to forgive those two mini blips.

Having dropped two points to struggling Histon at the weekend, when they were reduced to ten men, they are determined to get back on track tonight, in a difficult looking trip to resurgent Wrexham, however, I understand that a recent upturn in results for the welsh club have simply papered over the cracks, supporters are far from happy with boss Dean Saunders naive tactics and his days may still be numbered. The home side have ridden their luck in several recent games and look fragile at the back with only Tamworth having conceded more in the top half of the table.It is a long time since the Racecourse Ground was a difficult place to visit and with several home players carrying knocks and little rest time from the weekend, I am very pleased to take Town with the handicap start.

Fleetwood + 0.25 1.83



I discussed City in some detail at the weekend (se below), they beat Rochdale with a little more ease than the 1-0 scoreline might suggest and I see no reason for them to be such a big price this evening. They travel up the M5 for which by their standards is a fairly short trip to Hereford, to face a team totally devoid of confidence, one who are without a win in ten starts, during which they have a 3-23 goal difference and have slumped to the foot of Division 2, some 40 league places below City. United sacked coach Simon Davey and his assistant yesterday, so are rudderless too for the time being, not sure if it is best to have no one at the helm, or someone who has no idea what direction you are going in, but both are far from ideal.

City are a team in great heart at present, the loss at Bournemouth was, as I thought, no more than a minor blip and they travel in confident mood and with boss Paul Tisdale claiming that he will rotate no more than one or two of his squad as he wants to do well in a competition he believes they can win. Even if he does bring in a couple, with five strikers pressing for starts and options in other areas, he will only be introducing hungry players looking to push their way into a winning team so I do not see that as in anyway a negative. As previously mentioned City have very high fitness levels, so are as well suited by playing twice per week as any lower level team.

Exeter City -0.5 2.16


City are returning to their home ground, where they remain unbeaten, after three consecutive away starts, things ran away from them at Bournemouth in midweek, but they remain very upbeat after collecting four points from the other two games and I simply think that was one match on the road too many. They have not had a great deal of luck recently and draws at Dagenham, where they led for well over an hour and at home to highflying Peterborough, could easily have seen another four points in the bag, which would put them second in the table. Boss Paul Tisdale ( anyone that wears a cravat to a football game outside of Italy has to be of strong character !) told BBC Radio Devon that spirits remain very high and that he feels the team have benefitted from a couple of free days this week, he has Nardiello and O'Flynn back today, which doubles his impressive offensive options and City are a side with goals in them, with the five registered strikers having some 600 career goals between them, most at a higher level . They play a very aggressive yet attractive, high tempo style at St James Park, where visiting sides are given very little peace or time on the ball, they have high levels of fitness, one of the few who can match Rochdale in this aspect and create a lot of pressure in the final 15-20 minutes of games. City are unbeaten here and Dale likewise on the road, however, having seen the visitors at Southampton and extended highlights of their midweek win over Huddersfield Town, I feel that they match up better against the more cultured footballing teams and less well with those that adapt a more in your face approach. Exeter are a combination of the two styles and I take them to beat a Rochdale side who did a lot of work against Town in what was a flattering 3-0 scoreline and who will not relish returning to a venue where they have a dire record. Looking at chances created, Dale have only managed more than Tranmere and on the road seem happy to sit back and let the opponents make the running, looking for a goal on the break, I do not see this approach working against a City side who can match their work rate.

Good Luck.

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