Age no barrier as Fleetwood rebuild

Town professional Jamie Allen
Town professional Jamie Allen
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MICKY Mellon hopes the signing of Dean Howell will help attract more experienced League players to Fleetwood Town, though the club remain committed to giving youth its chance.

They proved that yesterday by granting a first professional contract to 17-year-old Jamie Allen.

The Preston-based midfielder has been rewarded for his consistent performances in the reserves last season. He also helped Town retain the Lancashire FA Youth Cup.

Mellon makes no secret that he is looking to add more experience to his ranks for Town’s debut League campaign, with the club strongly linked with the veteran Northern Ireland striker David Healy.

Mellon believes the experienced Howell could be a catalyst for further signings.

The 31-year-old played a key role in Crawley’s back-to-back promotions from the Conference to League One.

Their success continues a trend for non-league champions to take League Two by storm, and that can only help to make Town an attractive proposition to proven League players looking for a move.

But Mellon said: “I don’t think Football League players are too worried about where a club has come from. It’s what you are going to give them. The way we look at it is that we are trying to be successful.

“Clubs measure success in different ways. Some just want to stay up, some want the play-offs, and some say they want to win things but really just want to survive. But we are being very clear to people that we want to be very successful and to compete at the top end.”

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As for Howell, who has had 15 clubs since starting his career at Notts County in 1998, Mellon said: “He is a very experienced player we have always admired. He knows how to be successful and it’s and fantastic to bring that to the club.”

Howell is just the sort of player to help Allen to make the big step up, but it is a prospect which does not daunt the teenager.

He said: “Words can’t describe how it feels.

“It’s a massive step and it’s happened so fast in unbelievable.

“First I was playing in the youth team, then in the reserves and now I’m a first-year pro with all the professionals and it’s great.

“I found out on the last day of training. I wasn’t expecting it and I was honestly delighted.

“I was fortunate enough to get my chance with the reserves week in, week out last season. I secured a place, even when the first-team players were in.

“I was very nervous when I started playing alongside them, but I’m used to training with them now, and with new players coming in too it’s amazing.

“Their intensity and skill levels will only help me in training because I’m young and will pick up on the good things they teach me.”

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