Former PNE star searching for play-off Luck

Chris Lucketti, David Lucas and Graham Alexander

Chris Lucketti, David Lucas and Graham Alexander

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Ex-Preston North End skipper Chris Lucketti is hoping to be third time lucky when he heads to Wembley with Fleetwood for the League Two play-off final on Monday.

As a player, Lucketti twice lost in finals with Bury and North End.

It will be as the Cod Army’s assistant manager – he is No.2 to Graham Alexander – that the former centre-half will be looking for a change of fortune.

Fleetwood take on Burton Albion at Wembley for the prize of being promoted to League One next season.

Whoever wins will be taking their place in the third tier of English football for the first time in their history.

Lucketti told the Evening Post: “As a player I got to the old Wembley with Bury in 1995 when they lost to Chesterfield.

“Then I was captain of Preston against West Ham at the Millennium Stadium in 2005.

“Unfortunately I was not a winner either time, so fingers crossed that will change this time with Fleetwood.

“Everything comes down to what happens on Monday, your whole season.

“Wembley is a fantastic place to go and finish the job which we have been doing over the last 10 months.

“You are not there just to be part of an occasion, the task is to get a result and finish off the season in style.

“It is quite incredible where Fleetwood have come from, it is a really progressive club.

“Burton will be tough, they got to the play-offs last year and have had another good season.

“They are well organised and have got some good players.

“We have played against them enough times recently to know they are a good side.”

Lucketti, now 42, played 210 games for North End in a five-year stay at Deepdale.

It was during that time that he became a team-mate of Alexander’s.

When Grezza landed the PNE youth team manager’s post in June 2012, he named Lucketti as his assistant.

Six months later, Fleetwood came calling for Alexander, and Lucketti moved to the Lancashire coast with him.

The pair are enjoying their time on the other side of the touchline after long playing careers.

Lucketti said: “Moving into coaching has been fantastic, I have loved every minute.

“Challenges come up every day of the week which you have to deal with.

“The spell which Graham and myself had coaching the youth team at Preston was an enjoyable one.

“I’d been coaching a little while by then, and Graham had just finished playing. We formed ideas on coaching sessions and setting up a team in that time.”

The link between PNE and Fleetwood does not end with Lucketti and Alexander – not by a long chalk.

Youl Mawene and David Lucas are on Grezza’s staff as fitness coach and keeper coach respectively.

Striker Iain Hume is on loan with the Cod Army from North End, joining former Lilywhites players Conor McLaughlin, Jon Parkin, Adam Barton and Alex Marrow in the squad.

Fleetwood stalwart Nathan Pond hails from Preston, as does midfielder Josh Morris who is on loan from Blackburn.

“I loved my time at North End and still have a lot of time for the club,” said Lucketti.

“I’m sure that a few people in Preston will be keeping a close eye on the final.”

There is a PNE link with the Burton side too, in the shape of Shane Cansdell-Sherriff who has been on loan with the Brewers since September.