By Tony Leighton
Fleetwood Town's new captain Mark Roberts is looking forward to a Sky Bet League 2 campaign in which he hopes to repeat the promotion that he achieved with his previous club Stevenage three seasons ago.
Roberts was one of nine summer signings who arrived at the Highbury Stadium as manager Graham Alexander, ahead of his first full season in charge, looked to strengthen his playing squad with the aim of a full-on tilt at reaching League 1.
Central defender Roberts, who captained Stevenage from the Conference up to League 1 in successive seasons, will be a key component in the Cod Army team after - surprisingly to many - deciding to drop down a division.
"I wanted a new challenge," he told football-league.co.uk, "and Fleetwood offered me a really good opportunity. They're a club that really wants to go places, they've got a vision and it's exciting to be part of that.
"It's a club that's geared to winning and that's what I'm about, that's what the whole side are about. The gaffer's brought in some really good signings and after starting the season pretty well we're all looking ahead very positively."
Fleetwood's positive League 2 start, a 3-1 home win against Dagenham & Redbridge in last Saturday's opener, was slightly dampened by a 3-2 Capital One Cup defeat at League 1 Notts County on Wednesday evening.
But the Cod Army ran the Magpies close, so despite being unhappy at conceding goals Roberts - who is part of a completely new-look defence - is upbeat as he looks to Saturday's long trip south to face Plymouth Argyle.
"We're a brand new back four," pointed out the 29-year-old defender, "and we have to adapt. But we've all played at clubs who've had good defensive records, we're working hard in training and playing games will certainly help us to gel.
"The whole team played well against Dagenham, and although it was disappointing to concede a goal it was great that all three of the goals we scored came from new signings - that was a real boost for everyone.
"We then started well at Notts County and took the lead with a really good goal, but we gave away a couple of sloppy ones and it was always hard work after that. But we stayed in the game and there were lots of positives to take from it."
As one of the promotion favourites Fleetwood will be expected to win at Plymouth, who were in relegation trouble for the majority of last season but scraped to safety, finishing just one point above the drop zone.
But the Pilgrims, who lost 1-0 at Southend United in their first League 2 outing, gave Championship team Birmingham City a Tuesday night Capital One Cup scare before going down 3-2 after extra time at St Andrew's.
Roberts said: "A situation like the one Plymouth had last season can galvanise a club, and they showed at Birmingham that they're no pushovers so I'm expecting it to be a difficult game down there.
"It's going to be a long, hard season for us, but we've got players who've won promotions from this division and from higher divisions - and that experience of winning things might just make the difference come the end of the campaign."
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