Cod squad all at sea away from home

Conor McLaughlin has reignited his career at Fleetwood since being released by North End in the summer of 2012

Conor McLaughlin has reignited his career at Fleetwood since being released by North End in the summer of 2012

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Fleetwood will be looking to break their frustrating home-and-away sequence when they make the short trip to Deepdale tomorrow.

While generally strong at Highbury Stadium, the Cod Army have lost five matches in a row on their travels.

The latest of those defeats came at MK Dons on Tuesday night with them beaten 2-1.

They led in that clash through a David Ball goal but were quickly pegged back by a Kyle McFadzean equaliser.

And Benik Afobe’s penalty six minutes from time meant they returned empty handed.

Defeat left Town manager Graham Alexander with a deep sense of frustration.

Alexander said: “I was really disappointed for the lads because they left everything out on the pitch and worked extremely hard.

“It was taken out of our hands though by a fifth penalty of the season against us. That is becoming a habit which is hurting us.

“That’s a difficult one to take because we try to go along the right lines of getting these things sorted but it’s gone against us.

“It was a nothing penalty and one of those which was always going to go for the home side.

“We knew it would be a tough game and it was.”

The loss at MK Dons came after defeats on the road to Colchester, Peterborough, Crawley and Oldham.

But it is not as if they have been suffering from travel sickness all season, having won their visits to Notts County and Scunthorpe in August.

At home, Fleetwood are unbeaten in the league since winning promotion in May via the League Two play-offs.

Alexander will, of course, be back on familiar ground at Deepdale, so too his coaching staff and two of the Cod players.

As player, Grezza had two spells with PNE, with more than 400 of his 1,023 games being for the Lilywhites.

He was a key member of the 1999/2000 Second Division title-winning side and twice played in a Championship play-off final for North End.

It was fitting that his last ever game as a professional saw him score a stunning free-kick in a 2-2 draw against Charlton Athletic in April 2012.

On the bench with Alexander will be former PNE favourites Chris Lucketti (assistant boss), David Lucas (goalkeeper coach) and Youl Mawene (fitness coach).

Barry Nichsolson is also on the Cod staff, having taken the role of development squad coach in the summer.

Two of the Town players have worn Preston colours.

Jamie Proctor will face his home-town club, the striker joined Fleetwood in the summer after leaving Crawley.

Proctor was sold by North End to Swansea City for an undisclosed fee in August 2012 after being deemed surplus to requirements by Graham Westley.

One of the other players to depart Deepdale in that summer’s clear-out was Conor McLaughlin.

His move to the Lancashire coast has seen the right-back thrive and he is now a full Northern Ireland international.

The Cod Army’s joint leading scorers are Proctor and Stephen Dobbie with four goals apiece.

Liam McAlinden has recently arrived on loan from Wolves to bolster the attack.

He has scored two goals in his four games to date.