JAMIE Milligan is convinced Fleetwood Town can still win promotion to the Football League ... but they will have to do it without him.
The Town playmaker has been battling bravely on with knee cartilage problems but has admitted defeat in his bid to delay surgery until the summer.
The 31-year-old will have microfracture surgery at the end of the month, bringing his season to an early end, though he has made himself available for the two games before then.
Milligan explained: “The injury has gradually got worse and I’ve only been able to train once or twice a week.
“I’ve been getting through games but then having trouble afterwards and the operation really needs doing.
“I’m gutted because I really want to be part of the play-off push but it’s important that I get it sorted out so I’m hopefully ready for a full pre-season.
“I can play against Wrexham and Hayes and Yeading first, but that’s down to the manager.”
The operation involves drilling a hole into the kneecap to create new cartilage and it means Milligan will have to watch from the sidelines as his team-mates bid to battle back into the play-off zone.
Town are currently five points outside in seventh spot but Milligan has every confidence they can climb back up the Blue Square Bet Premier table.
“There’s no reason why not,” he added. “We have eight games to play, starting with a very big one at home to Wrexham.”
“We have the players to do it and we showed that against Crawley, who are top of the league. They were holding on at the end last Saturday.”
Six of Town’s remaining eight games are against sides outside the top ten – but these are often the matches Micky Mellon’s side have struggled in.
“We have stuggled to lift ourselves for games against the lower teams,” added Milligan, “but we are still in there with as good a chance as anyone.”
After a two-month wait to open his Town account, George Donnelly has netted in the last two games and Milligan feels he has found his goalscoring touch at a good time.
“It’s good to see George starting to score at this vital time of the season,” he said. “He is a rally good player and will be for us for for many years.”
Wrexham are expected to bring the biggest away following of the season to Highbury on Saturday – well over 1,000 – as they look to consolidate their play-off position.
Town chief executive Steve Curwood is looking forward to a bumper crowd. He said: “With seating now also available in the new main stand, there is plenty of room for everyone.
“Wrexham will be allocated the whole of the Percy Ronson Stand, which has a capacity in excess of 1,000, and over 300 seats will also be made available to the visitors in the new main stand, more if required.”