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Graham Alexander wants Fleetwood Town to keep proving doubters wrong

26 May 2014

Graham Alexander is backing his Fleetwood Town team to keep proving the doubters wrong after winning 1-0 in the Sky Bet League 2 Play-Off Final against Burton Albion at Wembley Stadium.

The Cod Army overcame the Brewers thanks to a long-range free-kick from Antoni Sarcevic which lobbed Burton goalkeeper Dean Lyness after 75 minutes and sealed a remarkable sixth promotion in 10 seasons for the club.

Fleetwood began the 2004/05 campaign in the North West Counties Football League Division OneĀ and have since rocketed up English football's pyramid to ensure their status as a Sky Bet League 1 club for 2014/15.

And Alexander, who has only been at the club for the past 18 months, is confident that the Cod Army's progression up the ladder in the past decade can be sustained.

"It will be tough in League 1, without a doubt, but we have proven this season that we can mix it with those teams having knocked Tranmere, Crewe, Carlisle and Rotherham out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy," Alexander said in his post-match press conferece.

"Granted, it's very different over 46 games, but I think those people who have doubted our success are starting to believe that it is possible to rise through the divisions this quickly.

"I've only been here for a year and a half so I can't talk too much about the time before that, but you listen to people who have been at the club for 15 years and see how much it means to them."

A prime example is central defender Nathan Pond. Having made his debut for the Lancashire side in 2004 in front of 81 people, Pond has been a part of every side that has sealed promotion for Fleetwood.

His ability to always make the transition from one division to the next, constantly proving himself at a higher level, was praised by Alexander after the Final.

He added: "If you could crown one club into one man, then Fleetwood and Nathan Pond are the perfect examples.

"He's always found what has been needed to compete at the next level and I'm certain he can go on again next season. He epitomises everything about this club.

"The ambition of the chairman [Andy Pilley, who was celebrating his birthday at Wembley] who took over the club 11 years ago is outstanding, always smashing any glass ceilings place above him."

As for Pilley's manager, Alexander, he's now added a Play-Off Final victory to his managerial CV to sit alongside his victory as a player with Burnley in 2009.

The Clarets beat Sheffield United 1-0 on that day to win a place in the Premier League, coming after much Play-Off disappointment, losing four times with Preston North End and also in his first season as a professional at Scunthorpe United.

"My wife actually reminded me that it's almost 22 years ago to the day that I was playing in the old Wembley for Scunthorpe," the 42-year-old reminisced.

"It was my first season in The Football League and I missed our fourth penalty in the shoot-out which we then lost 4-3. I was absolutely devastated.

"Today has been the opposite end of the spectrum and hopefully now it can go some way to help rub that memory out of my mind."

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