MICKY Mellon warned that midfielder Jamie McGuire may have to be “protected from himself when Fleetwood Town begin pre-season training today.
The battling midfielder suffered a severe cheekbone fracture at Cambridge, where the Conference champions’ 29-match unbeaten run came to an end in April, and has since had a metal plate inserted in his face.
The 28-year-old, who may also wear a protective mask, admitted he was unsure of the possible consequences if he took a knock to the cheek when Town step up training in readiness for their first season as a Football League club.
But with McGuire expected to join in the first session with team-mates new and old at Town’s Fylde RFC base today, Mellon said that precautions may have to be taken.
He told The Gazette: “It’s not really in Jamie’s mindset not to put his head in where it can get hurt and he will just get on with it.
“But we have good medical people here and we can protect him from himself if need be.
“But I’m sure he’ll be fine and the main thing is that he’s champing at the bit to get down to training again.”
McGuire will be as keen as anyone to come out of the blocks quickly in training, given that the competition for places in the Town midfield has intensified with the signing of Damien Johnson.
Mellon added: “We have a lot of variety in midfield and all over the pitch. We have different types of midfielders, which is a good position to be in.”
The manager reiterated his desire to bring in a couple more strikers, saying: “We do need more firepower.
There are irons in the fire. We have loans to consider too and we’ll bring in the best options.”
This may be the official first day of training but for some Town players it never stopped.
Captain Steve McNulty is among those who have been reporting in for fitness sessions during the summer, “to give myself a bit of a head start in training”.
The skipper was looking forward to greeting the new signings today, such as Johnson and Jon Parkin.
McNulty said: “‘The players coming in have a lot of experience, so it can only be positive. We are a relatively young side, so it will benefit the team without a doubt.
“I already know Steven Gillespie from our Liverpool days – we went through the system together. He is a proven goalscorer and has played at a high level throughout his career. There are about eight people from Liverpool in the team, so I’m sure he will fit in fine.
‘The chairman always makes his plans clear. I’ve been to clubs where promises were not followed through but at Fleetwood Town we always seem to deliver, especially because we have a great manager.”
n Town’s youth squad began training on Tuesday, their numbers boosted by nine new recruits to their two-year academy scheme, which combines football coaching with a BTEC course.
And they play their first pre-season friendly against AFC Fylde on Saturday at Lytham YMCA (2pm).
n THE Town players shouldn’t make themselves too at home back in training at Fylde RFC today – because after this week they won’t be back there until the end of the month.
They fly to Austria on Sunday for one training camp and head to Scotland for another later this month.
During the week in between they will make a temporary home at Lytham YMCA as the rugby ground will be used as a golf practice area for The Open.