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Can Fleetwood Town continue their amazing run to the Championship?

Saturday 11th February 2017
Ten years ago, Fleetwood Town was in the seventh level of the football pyramid in England. Now sitting fourth in League One, can the Cod Army continue their amazing run in the Football League?

After being crowned champions of the Northern Premier League Premier Division in 2008, Fleetwood just have not looked back.

Two years later, the Lancashire-based side managed to win the play-offs of the Conference North which meant promotion to the Conference National.

In their first campaign in the fifth level of English football, Fleetwood managed to reach the play-offs after coming fifth in the league. However, the Cod Army lost both matches against AFC Wimbledon, resulting in an 8-1 scoreline to the Wombles.

Nevertheless, the following 2011/12 season was very successful, to say the least. In the FA Cup, they reached the Third Round for the first time in their history and were declared champions with two games remaining, giving them promotion to the Football League for the very first time.

However, promotion did come at a cost, with the sale of key striker Jamie Vardy – who have course, would go on to be a Premier League champion with Leicester City – as well as, the departure of manager Micky Mellon after he had fallen out with Chairman, Andy Pilley.

Graham Alexander was named as successor to Mellon and after a good start to his tenure, Fleetwood only won two of the remaining 15 games in the league and consequently slipped down the table to finish 13th in League Two, resulting in a large rebuilding of the squad.

But that rebuild was successful, to say the least.

The 2013/14 campaign saw Fleetwood get to the League Trophy area final while narrowly missing out on automatic promotion with a fourth place finish in League Two. Nonetheless, Alexander's men managed to beat York City in the play-off semi-final before defeating Burton Albion 1-0 in the play-off final at Wembley to secure promotion to League One for the first time.
Their first season in England's third tier was enjoyable with Fleetwood finish in 10th place but the following 2015/16 season was constantly threatened with relegation.

After a poor start to the season with only two wins in 10 league matches, Graham Alexander was sacked in September 2015, with the club one point above the relegation zone.

Ex-Scotland international Steven Pressley was appointed as Alexander's replacement and managed to guide the club to safety, finishing five points above the relegation zone.

Surprisingly, at the start of this 2016/17 season, Pressley resigned. Former Brentford, Leeds and Wigan boss, Uwe Rosler, was given the opportunity to lead Fleetwood towards a top-half finish and so far, the German has exceeded expectations.

Last weekend's trip to The Valley – the first in the club's history – saw Fleetwood score a 94th-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Charlton to extend an unbeaten run to 13 league matches, leaving the Cod Army in fourth place in League One.
The result signified the rise of Fleetwood and how they are determined to keep their incredible run going.

With Championship ambitions in mind, they will be a difficult side to beat in the play-offs this summer and don't be surprised if Rosler manages to lead his side to England's second tier for the first time in the club's history.
Greg Stubley
Greg graduated with a first in Sports Journalism from the University of Brighton in Summer 2016 and has already managed to gain experience in the industry, working for companies such as Charlton Athletic and talkSPORT. Greg is currently the regular commentator on Charlton's "CAFCPlayerHD" service, bringing full-match live commentary along with Terry Smith of Addicks' games up and down the country for subscribers to listen.

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