Crisis forces Town into loan U-turn

Rotherham's Richard Wood
Rotherham's Richard Wood
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Fleetwood Town have broken their self-imposed loan embargo to solve a crisis at the back.

Graham Alexander has made a big deal of his desire to promote talent from within this season.

But with Nathan Pond certain to miss Saturday’s home game against Port Vale, Conor McLaughlin and Danny Andrew extremely doubtful and two other defenders yet to train this week, Town manager Alexander’s hand has been forced.

Rotherham defender Richard Wood arrived at Poolfoot yesterday and is likely to go straight into the squad to face the Valiants at Highbury on Saturday.

Wood has found his opportunities limited at the New York Stadium this term and will bring much-needed experience to Fleetwood’s squad.

Alexander admitted turning to the loan market has been the last resort. “Ideally we don’t want to use them – we want to look to our own first,” he said.

“But if there’s something that we need in the team and we haven’t got it in the whole club, we have to have an open mind.

“We don’t foresee having six, seven, eight injuries all at one time, all in one position or one part of the team. We’d be daft not to look at other options.”

Town’s defensive crisis has developed quickly – Andrew the first to drop last Wednesday.

Conor McLaughlin pulled out of training on Friday afternoon and Alexander revealed two more men had played through Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Wigan with knocks.

“Conor and Danny are progressing but slowly,” said the Fleetwood boss.

“There are a couple of other lads who played last week who were struggling. We’ve got a bit of a full treatment room but that’s professional football – you get knocks and injuries.

“It’s nothing major but when you’ve got games coming up thick and fast you need as big a squad as possible to cover those games.

“We know the lads. We know they’ll do all the work necessary to get as fit as possible.”

The capture of Wood suggests Alexander doesn’t expect to have a full pack from which to choose at the weekend.

But the Town boss remains ever-hopeful.

He said: “It’s difficult because it’s all ifs and maybes. We’re waiting for two or three players to train on Friday. If they do, then there’s no emergency.

“If they don’t we have to deal with it.”