By Tony Leighton
Fleetwood Town have made a great start to life as a Football League club, but manager Micky Mellon is warning that comparisons should not be made with the exploits of the previous two Blue Square Premier champions - Stevenage and Crawley Town - who each won back-to-back promotions to land in npower League 1.
Mellon led the Cod Army to what was an incredible fifth promotion in eight seasons to reach npower League 2, in which they have kicked off the new campaign with 10 points from their first five games - the last three of them won - to sit fourth in the table.
The perhaps inevitable conclusion is that Mellon's men can follow Stevenage and Crawley by completing an amazing hat-trick of teams going straight through to League 1 in their respective first-ever seasons as Football League clubs.
But the Fleetwood boss told football-league.co.uk: "We are different to Stevenage and Crawley insofar as we lost 17 players from the team that got us promoted, and so we've got a totally new team as well as playing in a new League.
"Stevenage and Crawley both kept most of their players - Crawley for example held on to [striker] Matt Tubbs, who played a key role in their promotion to League 1 before he left for Bournemouth, whereas we lost four strikers. So although I'm delighted with the way we've started the season, we're still a work in progress."
Fleetwood's biggest loss - though he brought in £1million through his transfer to Leicester City - was striker Jamie Vardy, who hit 31 goals in 36 Blue Square Premier appearances last season as the Cod Army stormed to the title.
Vardy's goals will be hard to replace, but Mellon's transfer window signing Jon Parkin hit a hat-trick in Saturday's 4-0 win at Morecambe and the former Hull City, Preston North End and Cardiff City striker will certainly help fill the void.
And with eye-opening signings such as ex-Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City midfielder Damien Johnson, who turned down the chance of a permanent move to Championship club Huddersfield Town - where he had been on loan from Plymouth Argyle - in order to join Fleetwood, the signs are good for Mellon's new-look team.
The manager said: "After losing players like Vardy we've changed our style slightly, making adjustments to our game to suit the strengths of the players we've now got here, but we've stuck to our passing game and we'll carry on that way.
"We're still gelling players together during our training sessions so it's good to have picked up the points we've got so far, but we've achieved nothing yet and it's going to take an awful lot of hard work to build on these first few results.
"We've got tough games coming up against Northampton Town and Port Vale, strong teams who have both started the season well, although saying that I know that every game will be a hard one for us right through to the end of the season. But we'll also make it tough for our opponents because we think we're a half decent side."
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