Scout File: Fleetwood Town (A)

It will be an interesting visit for the Imps to Fleetwood’s Highbury stadium today, writes Tom Morton.

The Fishermen, who finished just four points below us last season, have not got off to the greatest of starts. They currently languish inside the relegation spots having picked up just two wins so far. In fact, they’ve only scored two goals at Highbury this year and conceded ten. It’s a rough return to League One football for manager Lee Johnson, who was appointed in early September to replace Scott Brown after a string of early losses.

In total, 20 players left the club over the summer – for the most part, these were younger players and presumably, the intention was to tidy up the wage bill. But they also lost regular first-teamers Ban Batty and Danny Andrew. Both were defenders, which might explain the eighteen goals conceded (second worst in the league). It feels like a lot of churn for a team who finished decently mid-table last time out and I wonder if there is more going on. Certainly, Johnson, who has turned performance around somewhat – including picking up their two wins, will be waiting for the January window to open. In the interim, he has managed to bring in free-agent defender Ben Heneghan.

Credit Graham Burrell

Incomings include the highly experienced Danny Mayor, who was part of Plymouth’s champion squad last season and has ample experience in League One and Championship football. They also picked up handy midfielder Ryan Broom from Cheltenham. Despite some difficulty at the back, Fleetwood have retained some of their key forwards. Including Jayden Stockley who joined them in January 2023 and scored three goals in eighteen games. Similarly Jack Marriott, their current top scorer on three goals.

Fleetwood Lineup (A) 23/24

Tactically fleetwood line up 4-2-3-1 and we can expect Stockley or Marriot to be leading the attack. Obviously, they are not high scorers, and looking at highlights they aren’t a team to press, although they are happy in possession. Against Wycombe, last time out, they managed nine shots – so aren’t afraid of putting the ball in the right direction, even if accuracy isn’t great.

At the back, they are clearly struggling. The defence does look disorganised and they will be missing Heneghan who picked up a second yellow against Wycombe. Johnson has been positive about his squad but does talk about finding consistency at an individual level. You can see in the highlights the defence are not quite working in sync yet, and that’s where they are conceding.

Head-to-head suggests this could be a boring draw. We’ve had three of those since 2019, and two wins each. The last time out was a tight loss in March at Highbury which I remember being a frustrating game overall. But with so much up in the air with our squad and management, and the lack of performance from the Cods, it could make for an interesting event. Some people have called this a “must-win” game for us, and I suppose you’d want to be playing a bottom-of-the-table club for such games. It’s certainly true that we need to turn our form around and if there is more to Kennedy leaving than meets the eye perhaps we’ll see that play out on the pitch.