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Tuesday 03 May 2011
What's happening at Kingsmeadow - play off special

As Friday’s first leg of the play off semi final approaches, there has, as always, been lots going on at Kingsmeadow and at the training ground.

On Monday manager Terry Brown set the scene for the coming week for the team, before Stuart Cash led a session at the training ground, focusing mainly on defending. Stuart said “there are no fundamental changes to the way we want the team to defend as we have been very happy with the defence for most of the season. It was good to see that nearly everyone trained, except the two long term injured players, Sammy Moore and Fraser Franks. Ismail Yakubu and Danny Kedwell needed treatment for minor knocks on Monday but they are both are fully fit now.”

Tuesday’s training focused on attacking options and was led by manager Terry Brown who explained “the session mainly focused on the movement of our midfield and forwards. Training at this time of the year is not as intense as it is during pre-season and up to Christmas. One reason is that it is a priority to avoid injuring anyone during training and the fitness levels are already good enough to keep the players ticking over at the moment.”

He went on to say “the squad look full of energy and the players are now desperately keen to get on with the play offs as soon as possible. The sessions all went well and even after a couple of months with little or no rain, the training pitch was holding up well and I’m pleased we have such a good surface to work on.”

Wednesday is a day off for everyone. On Thursday morning the squad will have a brief training session on the pitch at Kingsmeadow, focusing on pattern of play and set piece routines, followed by lunch at the stadium. This is the last time the pitch will be used before the play off home leg, maximising the time available to get it into the best possible shape. Immediately after lunch, a squad of eighteen players will set off for their overnight stay at their hotel en route to Fleetwood. The players have already been told what the team is for Friday but the management team is keeping the details close to their chests until an hour before kick off, when the team sheets are exchanged

Terry Brown added “with an unusual kick off time of Friday evening the players will have most of a day to kill at the hotel and we are currently looking at ways to break the time up, so the players go into the match in the right frame of mind. Having played at Fleetwood this year we know that the playing surface will be one of the best in the league and also that Mickey Mellon’s side are one of the best footballing sides in the league.”

Terry and Stuart will briefly absent themselves from the training camp on Thursday night to travel across to see the Wrexham v Luton game at The Racecourse Ground.

Meanwhile, ticket sales continue briskly, with a constant stream of visitors to Kingsmeadow buying tickets, supplemented by online purchases. For Friday’s away leg, to date we have sold about 500 of our allocation of just under 1,000 terrace tickets. Two coaches are now fully booked and a third is over half full. It is possible to book the return trip only for the standard booking fee of £10 and some fans have already chosen to do that.

Meanwhile, for fans who can’t travel, the carvery has proved very popular again and is sold out for fans to eat and then watch the away leg of the semi final on Friday 6 May on the big screen. The main bar, which will be showing the game on a big screen, will also be open, starting from 5.30 pm. If the main bar is full we propose to open the President’s Lounge, which has a 40 inch screen, for an overflow of up to 80 fans.

For the home leg of the semi final on Wednesday 11 May, tickets continue to sell well. Almost all the seats have now been sold, with only ‘singles’ available plus some seats together in block M. On the terraces, the Tempest End is very nearly sold out but there is still good availability for the John Smith’s stand and the Kingston Road End.

In total, sales to date are about 3,300. In addition, Fleetwood have been allocated 600 tickets for the north end of the John Smith’s stand.

For the home leg, carvery places are still available at £20 each, but we have sold out of the combined carvery and seat offer.

We leave the last words of this feature to manager Terry Brown. “Having experienced the highs and the lows of the play off system the only thing I know for sure is that you need your best players available on the day and you need all your squad to be fit and available, as the selected eleven in the first game will not necessarily be the one you play should you be fortunate enough to reach the final. There will no doubt be injuries, possible suspensions and sickness that could all play a factor, as well as the dreaded penalties. You will be glad to know that should it come down to penalties our players have been religiously practising them for the last four weeks.

“The players are ready and raring to go and we’re looking forward to getting the game started on Friday night and hopefully bringing home a good result for the second leg to build upon.”