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York City and Fleetwood well equipped for life in league
10:24am Saturday 26th May 2012 in Sport
DOUBLE promotion winner Scott Brown is tipping Fleetwood and York City to both make their presence felt in League Two next season, writes Dave Flett.
Brown played his role at the start of the Cod Army’s 2011/12 Blue Square Bet Premier title push when he made four appearances for the Highbury club.
He went on to move to Bootham Crescent at the turn of the year and enjoyed eight Conference outings for the Minstermen, including an hour-long run-out in last weekend’s 2-1 play-off final victory over Luton at Wembley.
Fleetwood finished the season 15 points ahead of fourth-placed City, but Brown reckons the two teams can challenge together in the higher reaches of the next division.
He said: “I don’t think League Two is the hardest of divisions and I think both teams will be in the top half of the table challenging to try to go up again.”
Having been left out of the FA Trophy final squad and, after playing a peripheral role for much of his stay in North Yorkshire, Brown admitted it came as a surprise to him when he was named on the bench against the Hatters and even more of a shock when he entered the field ahead of fellow substitute midfielder Paddy McLaughlin after Jon Challinor was injured in the first half.
It was also a moment that those nearest and dearest to the Runcorn-born 27-year-old were not present to witness.
“I didn’t even get tickets for my family for the play-off final,” Brown revealed. “I didn’t expect to be involved having not been in the squad for the FA Trophy final and thought my opportunity to play at Wembley had passed me by.
“But, when Challs got injured, the gaffer turned to me and said, ‘Just show me what a good player you are’. Whatever happens now, I will always be grateful to him for that because playing in a winning team at Wembley has given me the highlight of my career.”
Brown’s previous achievements in the game include England representative honours from under-15 to U19 level, helping the Three Lions to a third-place finish at the 2002 U17 UEFA European Championships.
Having cut his teeth in the same Everton youth team as Wayne Rooney, Brown went on to play for Bristol City, Cheltenham, Port Vale and Morecambe before making the switch from Fleetwood to York.
During that time, the 5ft 7in midfielder has worked under nine managers but believes Mills ranks higher than all of them, even above the last man to mastermind a promotion campaign at Bootham Crescent 19 years ago.
John Ward was Brown’s boss during a spell at Cheltenham and the combative midfielder has also received orders from the likes of Gary Johnson, Martin Allen, Sammy McIlroy and Micky Mellon during his career.
Out of contract, he is now hoping for the opportunity to continue his education under Mills and said: “I would love to stay. The manager is the best I have ever worked under and he can improve me as a player. But, if it’s not to be, I will shake everybody’s hand and wish the club all the best.”