There is no coincidence that since the arrival of experienced midfielder Glenn Whelan into their ranks, Fleetwood have hit a purple patch of form as they soar towards the Sky Bet League One play-offs.
Since signing for Fleetwood back in January, both Whelan and the Cod Army have gone nine games unbeaten in Sky Bet League One which has seen Joey Barton’s men rise up the table. Fleetwood currently sit in sixth spot with a game in hand on sides above them that could take them as high as third place.
The run started back on the 25th of January with a solid away point at Bristol Rovers with their latest success coming on the road against much-fancied Ipswich Town as Ched Evans scored the only goal in a tight and cagey affair.
Six wins and three draws later and Fleetwood have catapulted themselves from 11th place, where they sat on the 24th of January, to where they are now at the beginning of March.
Whelan has played a variety of roles in the Fleetwood midfield since his arrival with Barton showing that he is not afraid to change systems depending on the opponent. During their 1-0 over fellow promotion challengers Portsmouth, they deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation with Whelan sat at the base of the midfield with fellow experienced head Paul Coutts.
Another way that they’ve utilised the former Aston Villa man is at the base of a narrow diamond as they collected a valuable point against current league leaders Coventry City. His expert ability to organise his teammates as well as read the game and suss out any potential danger is a huge reason as to why Fleetwood have kept five clean sheets in the games in which he has been involved.
Glenn Whelan has had some start to life with the Cod Army.
— Fleetwood Town FC (@ftfc) March 4, 2020
A promotion to the Sky Bet Championship would be historic for Fleetwood Town and their supporters. The club are currently in their highest position they have ever been in, Sky Bet League One, since they were founded in 1908. The club have gone through a meteoric rise through the leagues with the club only winning promotion from the National League in 2012.
Fleetwood appear to have hit perfect form at just the right time to cement themselves a place in the Sky Bet League One play-offs. Barton’s attractive style of football with a blend of youth and experience seems to be working in the Cod Army’s favour this season.
With Fleetwood’s rise starting at the same time as Whelan’s arrival at the club it implies that he is having a huge impact both on and off the pitch. Clearly the performances on it have been to an exceptionally high standard which one may expect from a player who had helped Villa to the Premier League the season before.
Having Whelan just in the building for just six months will do so much for Fleetwood off the pitch too. The current playing squad will be able to learn from his experiences at a higher level and put that into practice during the week. However, it will be invaluable for the young players coming through the academy, to have a player who has played at the very top level to watch train and gain an understanding of how to be the ultimate professional.