LEAGUE 2: MORECAMBE - FLEETWOOD TOWN
These two clubs really highlight the difference strong financial backing can make in League 2, money is very tight at the Globe Arena and boss Jim Bentley has only 18 registered professional players, he lost one of those last week, with striker Danny Carlton picking up what is effectively a season ending injury. Despite their flying start to the campaign, they know that this season will be a struggle and their only real aim is to get to 50 points and safety as soon as possible. We spoke about them ahead of the York City game last month ( see below) and they were fortunate to claim a 2-2 draw, a few days later they lost at home 3-1 to Port Vale and it is on their own ground that they have struggled, not winning since early March and conceding freely. On the road and in the cup(s) where they desperately need any additional income, they have played much better.
Fleetwood ( The Cod Army) tore through the Conference last season, winning the title with 103 points, aside from Wrexham, they were 14 points clear of the pack and all the huge investment at Highbury stadium is paying off. We have spoken about them many times over the last three seasons, they famously spent £250k on pitch ( not stadium) improvements a couple of years back and what other non league team could afford to do that ? They were ready for the FL 15 months ago and are determined to spend as little time as possible in League 2. They sold top scorer Jamie Vardy to Leicester City in the summer, but had shown incredible ambition to hold on to him for so long. They strengthened an already strong squad by signing nine players with FL experience in the off season and look to have plenty of goals in them. Damien Johnson has almost 200 EPL starts under his belt, Jon Parkin 200 in the Championship, Barry Nicholson 150 at Championship level and above, likewise Youl Mawene, Steven Gillespie scored 11 goals in an average League 1 side last season. This is the Fleetwood modus operandi, in the BSN, buy Confence level, in the Conference, players who are FL standard and now, players proven at an even higher level. Some of those named are a little long in the tooth, but this is a division in which you need experience and the visitors have plenty and class in a massive ( compared to Morecambe) and fully fit squad. They have won their last two after a slow start and will be pleased to have no further cup involvement for two months, promotion is their only aim and they should be up to claiming all three points today in this local derby. They have used their entire squad in the last week, with massive rotation in the JPT and they should be fresher in that respect too. 1.5 units Fleetwood -0.25 ball asian line (given to subscribers @ 2.05)
MORECAMBE- YORK CITY (written August 21st)
Hosts collected 29 points from their first 16 starts last season, just 27 from the next 30, form which over the full 46 games, would have seen them playing Conference football this season. They have not really strengthened in the summer apart from on loan striker Richard Brodie, and the loss of left back Laurence Wilson is potentially huge, they lost 9 from 33 when he started last season, 9 from 13 when he didn't play. They opened with a 3-0 win at Exeter City, but I am not going to read too much into that, as the Grecians are much troubled, were all over the place defensively, three down inside half an hour and a bit of a shambles. But Morecambe will be buoyed by that and their 2-1 road win at Blackpool ( not interested ?) in the cup, but now comes a home game and a different kind of pressure, as they will be expected to win. Brodie is facing a late test, but if he plays, the visitors will know all about him, as the striker made his name with the Minstermen. City are ambitious and after taking eight years to reclaim their league status, they have no intention of fighting a relegation battle this season. They added a lot of league experience to their squad in the summer and they should be in for a solid season. They opened with a 3-1 home loss to Wycombe Wanderers, afterwards boss Gary Mills said “Certain things could have been done better by ourselves on Saturday but we can put them right. I certainly didn’t think Wycombe were any better than us as a team." His side have tended to start slowly at home in each of the last couple of seasons ( losing 2 of 3 last season, but still promoted), whilst playing with more freedom on the road, where they only lost three times all season. Two of the goals conceded came from possession lost in midfield, they looked far more secure in this area after the introduction of Jon Challinor, Matty Blair and John McReady in the second half, all of whom will be pressing for starting places, defender Lanre Oyebanjo ( 9 clean sheets in his last 15 starts) and striker Jamie Reed ( 26 goals last season for York and Bangor) both sat out at the weekend, but are expected to play some part tonight. York City level ball ( draw no bet) 2.10 .... there is some 2.20 around.