Yeovil Town's FA Cup Second Round away draw will see the Glovers set on a new journey in early December. Their opponents will be Conference National side Fleetwood Town, who currently lie in second place in their division, level on points with leaders Wrexham. Their current record is W12 D4 L3, with 39 goals scored and 25 conceded in their 19 league matches so far, and so stand a healthy chance of playing in the Football League next season.
To quote Wikipedia, "Fleetwood is a town within the Wyre district of Lancashire, England, lying at the northwest corner of the Fylde. It had a population of 26,840 people at the 2001 Census. It forms part of the Greater Blackpool conurbation." It's situated around 10 miles north of the centre of Blackpool, and is 252 miles from Yeovil, representing one of the longest journeys the Glovers could have got in the Second Round draw.
The current Fleetwood Town club was formed in 1997, although two previous incarnations of football have existed in Fleetwood between 1908 and 1976 and 1977 and and 1996. They have been known as Fleetwood, Fleetwood Wanderers and Fleetwood Freeport over the years, but their current name was adopted as late as 2002.
Their sudden charge up the leagues commenced in 2005, when they won the North West Counties Football League, followed by promotion from the Northern Premier League First Division a year later. The year 2008 saw them crowned as Northern Premier League Premier Division champions, followed by promotion from the Conference North division at the end of the 2009-10 season. They almost achieved a double promotion from the Conference National division, finishing 5th, but they lost heavily to eventual play-off winners AFC Wimbledon in the semi-finals and so have had to spend a second season at this level, as they aim to complete an incredible rise into the Football League.
Fleetwood's rapid rise has been significantly helped by some serious bankrolling along the way. They are owned by local man Andy Pilley, whose energy supply firm Business Energy Solutions is one of the areas biggest employers. He has also helped finance new stadium development at their Highbury Stadium, with a £4.5 million new Parkside Stand being opened in April 2011 at around a capacity of 2,000 including a number of executive boxes and giving the club new offices. That has given the club an overall capacity of around 5,500 and the club are confident they now have the facilities to enter the Football League - something they may well do sooner rather than later.
The two clubs do have one significant connection between them - midfielder Anthony Barry has played for both clubs, and signed for the Trawlermen in January 2010, having had spells with Chester City and an ultra-brief time with Wrexham before switching up the North-West coast. However, he will not feature in the tie, after suffering a repeat of the injury that he suffered during his time with the Glovers - he is expected not to return to action until the turn of the year after suffering a knee dislocation at the tail end of August. Speaking at the time, he explained:
"It was a hefty challenge which dislocated my knee and chipped off some cartilage. Iím expecting to be out for four to five months. After getting over a pre-season injury and making the first match at Grimsby, I couldnít have asked for a worse start but its part and parcel of life as a footballer. Itís an injury that Iíve had in the past and it was more serious then. I thought Iíd put it behind me but sadly not."
Fleetwood showed their own credentials on Saturday by dumping out League One side Wycombe Wanderers in the shock of the round, and did so despite playing half the game with ten men. They lost Richard Brodie due to an elbowing incident, but still managed to win the game though goals from Andy Mangan and Jamie Vardy to set themselves up with their first ever match against Yeovil Town. Despite being two divisions below the Glovers, their win over Wycombe suggests that they will be tougher opposition than Hereford United, and manager Terry Skiverton will need to be very wary of that.
NB: Whilst we won't know until the next day or two, we'd recommend that Glovers fans do not go making travel plans just yet. Given Fleetwood's giant-killing yesterday, and the league positions of both clubs, we'd guess that the tie would be one of the possible candidates for ITV and ESPN to toy with for a live broadcast. Hence don't assume a Saturday 3.00p.m. kick-off until the live matches have been chosen by the TV channels and the FA. Provisional date for the tie would be Saturday 3rd December.
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