FLEETWOOD Town manager Graham Alexander is hoping for another entertaining game as his side take on Burton Albion for the fifth time this season.
The Cod Army meet the Brewers at Wembley on Monday in the League Two play-off final, having met twice in the league and twice in the FA Cup over the last 12 months.
“It’s quite strange how you play a team four times in a season, you get sick of the sight of each other and now we meet again at Wembley,” said the Highbury boss.
“They’ve all been good games.
“In the league they were high-scoring games, both sides turning each other over away from home.
“It’s two teams who deserve to be here and they’ve both got the same goal.”
The last meeting was one Burton will want to forget, as they lost 4-2 – their heaviest defeat of the league season – in a delayed and rain-soaked game at the Pirelli Stadium.
“I’d take the same result,” said Alexander.
“We did our best to throw it away with two own goals but the mentality of the players that day was unbelievable.
“We were in control and let Burton back in with a comedy goal.
“But we kept on going and battled back.”
Both clubs went against type in their semi-finals, as Fleetwood – who scored 66 and let in 42 goals during the season – won 1-0 over two legs against York City, while Burton – whose goal record for and against was 47 and 42 respectively – won 3-2 versus Southend United.
“We only scored one in the semi final but we probably deserved more,” said Alexander.
“One goal was enough but that’s because of the strong base we gave ourselves.
“We have to make sure we defend with the same intensity and intelligence to give ourselves the best chance.
“That is especially true against Burton, who have players who can score goals.
“We need to be defensively strong and compact and offer a threat.”
Alexander’s last visit to Wembley ended in a 1-0 victory for Burnley, Wade Elliot’s goal sealing promotion.
That, like many play-off finals, was a tense affair.
Alexander admitted the tension of the big occasion can get to both sides, but made it clear there was no script to proceedings.
He said: “I don’t think teams play as fluently as they would do in a normal league game because of the tension involved.
“Gradually they do find a rhythm.
“But at the end of the day goals change games and you can never predict when that’s going to happen.
“Look at last year’s final, that was 3-0 after 20-odd minutes.
“Nobody would have seen that coming.
“You were sat there thinking the game was over.
“But that’s in the past and we have to focus on ourselves and what is happening now.”
It has been suggested the big Wembley pitch might suit Fleetwood’s fluid football.
But Alexander isn’t going to try and predict how the game might pan out.
All he knows is his players will be physically ready for the big test.
“Will the pitch help us?
“I’ll tell you at 5pm on Monday,” he said.
“We know we’ve got the fitness to cope, that’s a certain.
“We’ve got a good record away from Highbury, an excellent record in the second half of games.
“We know our fitness levels are good but Burton’s will be too.
“We want to go there and play our way and if the pitch or whatever helps us that’s great.”