Fleetwood want to extend Ashley deal

Ash Eastham

Ash Eastham

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FLEETWOOD Town are trying to lengthen the loan period of Blackpool defender Ashley Eastham.

Speaking on the eve of tomorrow’s trip to Bristol Rovers, Town manager Micky Mellon said he had already been in contact with Seasiders’ boss Ian Holloway about lengthening the current arrangement, which is due to end this weekend.

Mellon said: “I have been really happy with Ash, and I have already spoken with Ollie to see if we can have him for longer and hopefully we can sort something out.

“Ashley wants to be a good player and works hard at his game, and we are glad to have him here.

“We keep calling him Young Ash but he has much more league experience than four players already here.”

Eastham made his debut for Fleetwood on Tuesday night in the 5-2 home reverse against Port Vale, and tomorrow Town face their third match in the space of seven days with the trip to take on Bristol Rovers.

The Pirates are currently struggling second from bottom of League Two, and have yet to win a match this season.

Despite the Port Vale defeat, Fleetwood retained their spot in the play-off positions.

Mellon is hoping Fleetwood get back on course tomorrow in the wake of the Vale defeat, and though he is not contemplating a wholesale change of personnel, Mellon said: “I am sure after Tuesday night there will be players who have not figured so much this season knocking on my door asking to play.

“We must realise that if we make mistakes as we did on Tuesday, then at this level of football, the they are going to be punished.

“The statistics show that Port Vale had eight shots on target and they scored from five of them.

“We had 19 attempts on target and we scored twice, and one of those goals was a penalty.

“Of course, some shots on target made the goalkeeper save and others just trickle through to the ‘keeper, but it showed that there were positive things to come out of Tuesday if we are having that many attempts.

“Some of our play on the ball was as good as we have seen this season, but off the ball it wasn’t.

“I can get the DVD of the match and the players will know straightaway what they should have done better, but it is up to them to sort it out in the heat of battle. That is a different thing altogether.”

Despite their on-going financial problems, Vale have shown themselves to be one of the form sides of League – not only did they stick five past Fleetwood, but they scored six against Rotherham, who started the season as favourites to win the title.

Mellon said: “Port Vale are a really good side and certainly the best we have played this season – they have set the benchmark.

“We must strive to be as good as that by closing the gap.”

Defender Youl Mawene will come back into contention to play at the heart of the Fleetwood defence for the trip to the Memorial.

The experienced Frenchman was rested for the Vale match, Mellon insisting: “He was so tired he couldn’t even put his own socks on.”

Mellon returns to the city where he played for a significant part of his career, though he plied his trade in the other half of Bristol, in the colours of City.

And he doesn’t expect the Rovers’ faithful to forget his past affiliation.

Mellon, well versed in Bristol derbies, said: “I don’t think people outside the city realise how intense the rivalry is in Bristol, even youth and reserve games.

“I will probably get an ecstatic reception from the fans – if I am disguised as my assistant Craig Madden!

“Bristol Rovers is a really tough place to go and they have a fantastic fan-base down there, very noisy and they really get behind their team.”

Rovers will be anxious to get their season belatedly up and running, though they struck some kind of form in midweek by coming from 
behind to force a 1-1 draw 
with Plymouth Argyle at Home Park in a west country derby.

However, Bristol are still anchored at the bottom, with only Barnet below them in the League Two standings.

Mellon said: “Mark McGhee is a good manager, and we know we will have a lot of hard work to do, and can’t just turn up expecting to win.”

McGhee has been working on trying to replenish the squad prior to Fleetwood’s arrival, and he gave debuts at Plymouth to Garry Kenneth and Fabian Broghammer.