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Opposition Lowdown: Lee Johnson’s Fleetwood

Reading return to the Select Car Leasing Stadium this Tuesday, taking on fellow strugglers Fleetwood Town. Join us as we take a closer look at the opposition.

Fleetwood Town v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images


Fleetwood finished last season in 13th place in League One after 14 wins, 16 draws and 16 losses. This is their 10th consecutive season in the third tier, having gained promotion from League Two via the playoffs in 2014.

The Cod Army currently sit in 22nd place in the league, one place and two points ahead of Reading. Their recent form has been mixed, having seen two wins, one draw and two losses in their last five games. They come into this match after back-to-back losses to Wycombe Wanderers and Lincoln City.

Reading and Fleetwood have never faced each other in their clubs’ histories, so this marks the first match-up between the two sides.

The boss

Lee Johnson: Johnson was appointed Fleetwood manager in September, taking over from Scott Brown, who was sacked after 16 months in charge at Highbury. Johnson had a 13-year career as a player and was a midfielder who represented the likes of Yeovil Town and Bristol City, where he played under his dad, Gary Johnson.

Johnson started his managerial career at the age of 31, managing Oldham Athletic in League One. He stayed in Oldham for two years, before making the move to Barnsley in 2015, where he stayed for a year.

A move to his former club Bristol City followed in 2016, where he spent four years before then taking over at Sunderland in December 2020. He won the EFL Trophy with Sunderland in 2021 but was sacked less than a year later. Johnson’s most recent stint was at Scottish Premier League side Hibernian where he spent just over a year, before he was sacked in August this year.

Johnson likes his sides to play aggressive, forward-thinking football.


Eight players came in through the door at Highbury this summer, with four joining on permanent deals and four arriving on loan. Midfielders Paul Broom and Danny Mayor and winger Maleace Asamoah all joined the club on free transfers. Winger Ryan Graydon also joined the club on a permanent deal, signing from Irish side Derry City.

Defenders Adam Montgomery and Bosun Lawal both joined on loan from Celtic, while midfielder Xavier Simons and striker Kabongo Tshimanga signed on loan from Hull City and Peterborough United respectively.

Five players left the club over the summer, including goalkeeper Alex Cairns, defenders Darnell Johnson and Danny Andrew and midfielders Daniel Batty and Dylan Boyle.

Defender Toto Nsiala will miss this Tuesday’s game following his sending off against Lincoln at the weekend. Striker Jayden Stockley and defender Carl Johnston are both doubts for Tuesday’s game, having both come off injured at the weekend.

Expected line-up

Lynch, Johnston, Lawal, Heneghan, Earl, Quitirna, Simons, Mayor, Montgomery, Vela, Marriott

Key player

Jack Marriott: Striker Marriott signed for Fleetwood in January this year, joining from Peterborough United for an undisclosed fee. He started his career at Ipswich Town where he came through their youth ranks before making his debut in 2013.

After a number of loan moves to gain first-team experience, Marriott signed a permanent deal at Luton Town in 2015. He spent two years with The Hatters before then joining Peterborough United, where he spent a year, scoring 33 goals for the club, while also being named in the League One team of the season.

A move to Derby County followed, where he scored 17 goals across two seasons, before moving to Sheffield Wednesday on loan. He rejoined Peterborough on a permanent deal in 2021 and went on to score a further 16 goals.

The 29-year-old has made 31 appearances for Fleetwood since his move in January, scoring 11 goals. Marriott typically plays as a striker but can also be used out wide; he has strong finishing skills but is also good in the tackle.

One to watch

Junior Quitirna: Midfielder Quitirna joined Fleetwood in January, signing from Irish side Waterford. He started his youth career at AFC Hornchurch before joining the youth setup at Charlton Athletic. He made his professional debut for the Addicks in 2019 and made one additional appearance before signing for Waterford in 2021.

Quitirna played 56 games in Ireland, scoring 21 goals. When he joined Fleetwood earlier on this year he was sent straight out on loan to National League side Altrincham for the remainder of the season, but he returned to the Cod Army early and represented the club five times towards the back end of the season.

Quitirna has played in 13 games for Fleetwood so far this season, scoring twice. The 23-year-old usually plays in central midfield but can also play out wide. He is a strong passer of the ball and likes to shoot from range.