Fleetwood Town welcome Crewe Alexandra to Highbury on Saturday for their first ever League One fixture.
The majority of Graham Alexander’s side, still on a high following their promotion from League Two via the 1-0 play-off final win over Burton Albion at Wembley, will themselves be taking their first steps in the third tier of English football.
Fleetwood go into the game as slight favourites on home turf, against a Crewe side who will be looking to improve on last season’s 19th position in League One, with the Cheshire club surviving on the final day following a 2-1 win over Preston North End.
The sixth promotion in 10 season’s is somewhat amazing for Alexander’s side from a small fishing town, with Town having made some shrewd signings over the course of the pre season period.
Fleetwood have improved their squad with the signings of Macclesfield Town fullback Danny Andrew, experienced former Blackpool midfielder Keith Southern on a free, striker Jamie Proctor from Crawley, and most recently fullback Stephen Crainey on a free transfer.
Josh Morris, the centre midfielder, re-signed on a loan deal from Blackburn having spent the second half of the 2013/14 promotion winning campaign at Highbury, as Fleetwood build a squad to challenge for back to back promotions.
As the Cod Army prepare for their début campaign, Alexander is ready to rely upon his squad to prove themselves at a higher level, following the superb achievement of late May.
Antoni Sarcevic will undoubtedly be one of Fleetwood’s key player’s going forward ahead of Saturday’s anticipated fixture. The 22 year old Mancunian scored the winner in the play-off victory over Burton, and the attacking midfielder will have to be at his best if the Cod Army are to get anything from Saturday’s encounter.
Josh Morris is also a player who Crewe will have to be wary of on Saturday too, with Morris joining for the season on loan for the full season, having excelled on the Fylde Coast towards the back end of last. Jamille Matt is another player who can provide Fleetwood with energy.
Alexander to date, has a full squad to select from with no real injury news, with Nathan Pond set to captain the club once again in preparation for his 11th season.
This means he may give at least four of his five summer signings a début, with Josh Morris, Keith Southern, Stephen Crainey, and Preston born striker Jamie Proctor all likely to start for the Cod Army.
Focusing on the visiting Crewe Alexandra, and Steve Davis’s side head to Fleetwood on Saturday ready to start a fresh, after last season’s difficult campaign.
The Alex starved off relegation last season, and have endured a tough summer within regards to transfers and player departures.
The pending departure of contract rebel Max Clayton, aged 19, who has refused to sign a new deal at the club and is currently in talks with Wolverhampton Wanderers over a move to the Championship, has disrupted things at Gresty Road.
Crewe have also had to deal with the departure of young forward Mathias Pogba, who is the younger brother of Juventus and France midfielder Paul, who has joined Italian Serie B side Pescara, as well as continued speculation of many of their younger players.
Crewe have indeed strengthened their squad with the three signings of goalkeeper Scott Shearer, midfielder Chris Atkinson and Canadian striker Marcus Haber.
Davis can rely upon defender, and recently appointed captain Matt Tootle to keep it tight at the back, with the 23 year old making 43 League appearances last season in Crewe’s youthful squad. Tootle also won the club’s player of the year last season.
Attacking wise, the Railwaymen can call upon Haber, who is likely to make his League début on Saturday to fill the void left by Chuks Aneke, who decided to sign for Belgian club, Club Brugge, rather than a return to Crewe, where he scored 15 League goals whilst on loan from Arsenal.
Team news wise: and Crewe are able to pick from a relatively full squad following recent niggles in pre-season, ahead of the opening game.
Max Clayton will not be involved however, as the striker seeks a move to Wolverhampton Wanderers.