PLACES in Fleetwood Town’s FA Cup team for Yeovil on Tuesday could be on the line when Micky Mellon’s side take to the field in another knockout competition at Northwich Victoria tomorrow.
Mellon’s team for the FA Trophy first-round tie at the home of Evo-Stik Premier high-flyers Vics is expected to bear little resemblance to one which competes in Somerset three days later to determine who hosts Blackpool in the new year.
But there may well be places up for grabs at Huish Park, especially as Shaun Beeley (dead leg) and Jamie Milligan (knee) continue to struggle with injuries sustained in the first Yeovil match last Friday.
Mellon said: “All I know is that if the Yeovil replay was tonight those two would not be taking part, so there could be an opportunity for someone else.
“But the opportunity will always be there for anyone who performs well in any game to force his way into the side. This club moves forward so fast that everyone always has to make the most of any opportunity.”
As for the wholesale changes the manager is expected to make tomorrow, Mellon said: “It isn’t often that I look at the game beyond the next one, and this must be one of the first times I have gone into a Saturday game with the following Tuesday’s game very much in focus.
“Tuesday is such a massive game that will select Saturday’s side accordingly. But this is still a big cup-tie in the FA Trophy and one we want to win. We will approach it in the right way and prepare properly, as we always do.”
Magno Vieira, who would perhaps have started tomorrow having had little game time lately, may have to sit the game out with bruised ribs.
Loan defenders Charlie Wassmer and Glenn Wilson could feature, after Mellon acknowledged both have slipped under the radar of late after making a positive impact on first arriving from Crawley.
“They are certainly still around,” Mellon said.
“There has been an issue with getting them cup-tied and Charlie has had an injury.
“Then they have been kept out of the team by others coming in and doing well, such as Kieran Charnock. Morecambe have no issues with him getting cup-tied, so that has helped him to stay in the side.”
Mellon is looking forward to catching up with Vics boss Andy Preece, a Blackpool FC team-mate around 15 years ago.
In yesterday’s Gazette, Preece expressed his admiration for the job Mellon had done at Town, though admitted to a certain surprise that anyone from the mid-90s Seasiders side had made the step up to management, himself included.
Mellon said: “When you are playing, you don’t look around the dressing room and think in terms of who will become a manager.
“But Andy was always a player with strong opinions and, of course, you never lose your love for the game. We still speak regularly and meet up occasionally for charity matches.”
That won’t stop both trying to put one over on an old team-mate tomorrow, when Mellon will be hopeful that his shadow squad will be strong enough to improve on last season’s first-round exit in the FA Trophy at Blyth Spartans.
Their preparations have not been unduly hindered by the week’s bracing Fylde coast winds.
“We’re actually quite sheltered at Fylde,” he says, “and we had a behind-closed-doors game at Highbury in midweek, which is also well protected, so it hasn’t really affected us,” he says.