DAVID’S READY TO TAKE ON GO­LIATHS

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Mar­ios Pa­paloizou

WHILE Daniel Stur­ridge is eye­ing a Pre­mier League ti­tle with Liver­pool and a World Cup spot with Eng­land this sum­mer, all his for­mer strike part­ner David Ball is crav­ing is life in League One.

Fleet­wood’s Ball used to part­ner Stur­ridge when the pair were com­ing through the ranks at Manch­ester City.

As a duo they lifted the FA Youth Cup, but while for­mer Chelsea for­ward Stur­ridge has moved from one elite club to the next, for Ball it has been a dif­fer­ent story.

A loan deal to Swin­don was fol­lowed by a per­ma­nent switch to Peter­bor­ough and then a brief re­turn up north to join Rochdale tem­po­rar­ily.

How­ever, much like his for­mer team­mate, the 24year-old has fi­nally found a club that has al­lowed him to flour­ish.

His eight league goals prior to the Easter weekend have helped the Cod Army to lofty heights in League Two. And while Stur­ridge looks set to be cel­e­brat­ing come May, Ball in­sists his own re­turn to form is rea­son enough to cheer.

“I had a good strike part­ner­ship with Daniel and I think there’s some sim­i­lar­i­ties in what has hap­pened to us re­ally,” says Ball.“He’s fi­nally found the right club for him­self and got a man­ager who be­lieves in him and it’s the same with me.

De­vel­op­ment

“I’ve got a man­ager (Gra­ham Alexan­der) who has faith in me and I’m start­ing to de­velop into a much bet­ter player. I’ve started to ma­ture as a player which has taken a lit­tle bit longer than I would have liked be­cause I haven’t had that steady base.

“When I was at City with Mark Hughes I made the bench a few times but it ham­pers you be­cause you need to play to im­prove.

“I still keep in con­tact with a lot of the lads be­cause we had some great times to­gether and won the FA Youth Cup. But I should prob­a­bly have made the drop ear­lier be­cause not play­ing ham­pers your de­vel­op­ment.”

Au­to­matic pro­mo­tion may look out of Fleet­wood’s reach, but Ball says he’s not giv­ing up hope and has one eye on his side’s clash with Ch­ester­field on the fi­nal day which could yet prove piv­otal.

The prospect of play­ing in League One next sea­son is one that Ball rel­ishes as the start of a jour­ney that could see him lin­ing up against his for­mer part­ner.

“Ev­ery­one wants to play at the high­est level and I’m no dif­fer­ent,” he added.“I think I can keep im­prov­ing and go from strength to strength, I’ve played in League One and the Cham­pi­onship and scored goals at ev­ery level I’ve been at. “It’s down to us to get a run to­gether and pick up the wins we need to push Ch­ester­field all the way.

“I don’t see any rea­son why we can’t get the right re­sults and when we go into the match against Ch­ester­field we would like to be in a po­si­tion where we are ahead of them. “That match might prove vi­tal but, to be hon­est, all of the last few games are cup fi­nals for us and we have to have that men­tal­ity.”

PIC­TURE: Pin­na­cle

HAV­ING A BALL: David scores for Fleet­wood. In­set Daniel Stur­ridge cel­e­brates an Eng­land goal

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