Mellon’s one in a million

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IMMEDIATELY after clinching their play-off spot, Fleetwood Town boss Micky Mellon stated that his players had not received the recognition they deserved – and now chairman Andy Pilley insists the same applies to the manager.

As plans begin in earnest for the two-legged Blue Square Bet Premier play-off semi-final against AFC Wimbledon, chairman Pilley took time out to praise 39-year-old Mellon on his success in his first job as manager.

Town secured fifth spot with Monday’s 1-0 home win over Barrow and Pilley said: “We have an outstanding young manager and it’s about time he got credit he deserves.

“When he took over we were second-bottom of Blue Square North and he narrowly missed out on the play-offs that season.

“He led us to obtain more points than any other team the following season and we controversially missed out on the championship (Town were docked six points from victories over Farsley Celtic on that club’s withdrawal from the league), then he steered us through the play-offs.”

And of the latest success, Pilley added: “It’s an an amazing achievement in his first season in the Blue Square Bet Premier and I’m sure he will have a very long and successful career in the game.”

After negotiating their final league game at Cambridge on Saturday, Town will welcome Wimbledon to Highbury for the first leg on Friday week (May 6), with the second in London the following Wednesday.

Pilley added: “I’m absolutely delighted. It means everything to have these cup finals, which is what they are. It’s what players and supporters – want to be playing in huge games in front of sell-out crowds.

“We had two very close and special games against them in the league and Wimbledon will be expecting another tough one.”

Wimbledon are the only one of the play-off contenders Town have failed to beat this season, though they had chances in both encounters. Magno Vieira equalised in January’s 1-1 Highbury draw and Wimbledon won the following month’s return match 1-0, when Town centre-half Sean Gregan was sent off.

Tickets for the home leg went on general sale at Highbury this morning and are available until 7pm each weekday. They can also be purchased via (01253) 770702 or www.fleetwoodtownfc.com (phones manned until 5pm).

Seats are priced at £18 (£13 concessions), with standing tickets at £15 (£10).

Tickets will be held for season ticket holders until Tuesday. Hospitality tickets in the new Parkside Suite cost £50 and include a three-course meal and executive balcony seat.

Confidence grew yesterday that the other semi between Wrexham and Luton would go ahead after the former MP Dr John Marek gave assurances that the Welsh club’s £200,000 debt to the inland revenue would be paid this week. Wrexham face a High Court date on May 11 after a winding-up order.

Both legs of that semi-final take place 24 hours before Fleetwood’s games. All four matches will be shown live on the digital subscription channel Premier Sports TV.

INTERVIEW: DERICK THOMAS