Flying Fleetwood to edge past Carlisle in televised JPT clash
The biggest game anywhere in English football today takes place in a small seaside spot on the Fylde coast in Lancashire.
Fleetwood is a town near Blackpool, most famous for producing Fisherman’s Friends lozenges and the popular tenor Alfie Boe.
Their 105-year-old football team has travelled from the tenth tier of English football to the top of League Two in little over a decade and host League One strugglers Carlisle in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, with the match shown live on TV.
Fleetwood to win @ evens
Cod Army coach Graham Alexander will be without top scorer Jamille Matt again and with crucial league and FA Cup matches ahead, the former Scotland international is likely to freshen up his teamsheet.
However, Fleetwood have outscored all around them this season in League Two and come into this tie off the back of a three-game winning streak.
Graham Kavanagh’s Blues will hold no fear for Alexander’s men, who have already beaten League One sides Tranmere and Crewe in previous JPT rounds.
Against a Carlisle outfit that have only won once in their last eight games and currently sit just three points above the League One relegation zone, the lower-ranked Trawlermen can prevail.
David Ball to score the first goal @ 5/1
The former Man City youth is set to start in attack alongside ‘the Beast’ Jon Parkin, who’s 6ft 4in frame should ensure a measure of aerial success up front for the hosts.
Ball has found the back of the net five times so far in Fleetwood’s campaign and broke the deadlock five minutes before the break in the 4-0 win at home to Crewe in the last round.
The 6ft striker has been in and out of the first team recently, but Ball has taken his chances in cup competitions with goals also plundered in the Capital One and FA Cups this term.
He will be ready to pounce on any loose balls Parkin produces and is the pick to bag the opener here.
Matty Blair to score at any time @ 11/4
Warwick-born winger Blair has delivered for Fleetwood when called upon since his move from York at the start of the summer, with three goals grabbed already despite only starting four games this season.
Blair rounded off the scoring in the last minute against Crewe and put in a solid shift out wide in the win against Tranmere.
The 24-year-old is likely to start this match after being kept on the bench for Fleetwood’s last outing, the 2-0 FA Cup first-round win at non-league Gloucester City.
He needs a strong performance to stay in Alexander’s thoughts as the League Two pacesetters have a number of options in attacking-midfield, including all-action Mancunian Antoni Sarcevic and full-back/winger Junior Brown.
Blair can put down a marker for the rest of the season by getting on the scoresheet again at Highbury Stadium.