This is the second of what I hope is a new series looking ahead to each of our games. I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible, but also as informative as possible.
Tomorrow sees the arrival of Fleetwood Town at Sincil Bank, and perhaps there’s a little bit of the opposition getting lost in our excitement to return to the ground. Yes, it will be an amazing afternoon, but not so much if we don’t win. That’s the one element of the game we can’t control. There’s a little bit of information here about Fleetwood, and Jake’s excellent preview video with Ben of Cod Vlogs, at the bottom of the page.
Fleetwood Town, known as the Cod Army, are one of the samaller sides in the division in terms of their ground, with a capacity of just over 5,000. They’ve been big spenders in recent seasons, but since the panedmic took hold the brakes seem to have been applied. For an example, they signed Ched Evans for an undosclosed fee, likely to be high six-figures, 18 months ago, bur their headline striker arrival was Callum Morton on loan from West Brom this summer.
Fleetwood kicked off their season with a 1-0 defeat at home against Portsmouth, and a trip to Sincil Bank will certainly been seen by their fans as a challenge. They like to play three at the back, going 3-4-3 against Pompey and 3-5-2 in midweek in the Carabao Cup. They were beaten 2-1 by Stoke, but a late own goal was the sum of their endeavours and their xG was a mere 0.28. Don’t be fooled though, that is Championship opposition and the stats suggest they were marginally better than Pompey, with xG of 1.14 compared to 1.08. They started that game well, with their major chance falling to none other than Callum Morton on 13 minutes, as he followed in on Gerard Garner’s saved effort. Don’t expect a long ball team either, in their opening game they played more passes than Pompey and had much more possession. They’ll expect to see a little less of the ball this weekend, but even at Stoke the possession stats were close (51% to 49%), and they played more passes than their Championship hosts.
I’m going to try to pick a key man each week for the opposition, and this week I’m plumping for Callum Camps. he spent years at Rochdale, but made the move to Highbury at the beginning of last season. He’s been out for a while over the summer, suffering a shoulder injury, but he was facing the media for them this week and is sure to play a part after getting 90 minutes in the tank against Stoke. He plays in what I’ve seen described as the quarterback role, sometimes as part of the double fours, depending on how the Cod Army setup. He got 11 goals in all competitions last season, avergaed almost two shots per game and regualrly created chances for teammates. He’s a real livewire and the sort of player it wouldn’t surprise me if we signed – by that I don’t mean we will, but he’s the type Michael likes, experienced enough to be impactful in the division, but at 25 reaching a stage where that potential needs to be turned into a promotion, or a big move.
The Imps and Fleetwood have met on just five occasions, with us winning on and them winning two. The first time we met at the Bank, Josh O’Keefe gave us a lead at halftime, before three second half goals from them killed us off. Later in the season, as they were heading for the Football League, we drew 2-2, again with City taking the lead (2-0), only for a Jamie Vardy double to level things up. We missed our away trip there in the aborted 2019/20 season, but grabbed a home win courtesy of Tyler Walker’s quick-fire double. Last season was miserable in a way, we drew 0-0 at their place, but were humbled in the return game 2-1, with Callum Morton socring our only goal late in the game. we dropped out of the top two on that evening, and didn’t return.