FLEETWOOD Town have signed Morecambe’s Kieran Charnock on loan to solve a defensive crisis.
Charnock has been drafted into Highbury on a month’s loan after injuries to three key central defenders.
Steve McNulty, Paul Linwood and Rob Atkinson have all been felled by injury.
Charnock comes into the Fleetwood squad for tomorrow’s clash at Gateshead in the Blue Square Bet Premier – as the ‘Heed Army and the Cod Army collide.
McNulty came off with during the 2-1 win over Stockport County last Saturday and has been diagnosed with ankle ligament damage.
Linwood has a knee problem, while Rob Atkinson is a long-term casualty with a broken ankle.
Fleetwood manager Micky Mellon feels that Charnock has just the credentials to help cover for these injuries.
Preston-born Charnock began his career with Wigan Athletic before stepping down to play for Northwich Victoria.
His outstanding form there led to a move to Peterborough. He then had loan spells with Accrington Stanley and Torquay before moving back to the North-West with the Shrimps.
Mellon said: “Charnock has a lot of experience and will be joining us for a month. He should fit into the way we try to play. He lives locally, at Chorley, which is another good thing. He will be with us until the transfer window opens in January.”
Charnock said: “It looks a really good club with a good set up. Hopefully I’ll carry on the good work that’s already been done this season. It’s good to go into a side that’s doing well.”
High-flying Fleetwood go into the match as the bookies’ favourites to go up into the Football League.
They are second in the table after five successive league wins, behind Wrexham on goal difference, but their outstanding form include an historic FA Cup win over Wycombe and has caught the attention of the bookmakers.
Fleetwood are as short as 6-4 favourites to enter the Football League as champions and 8-11 to get promoted.
However, Mellon is not really interested in the odds and he said they certainly don’t add extra pressure.
He said: “I am delighted that people have noticed that my team are doing well. I take it as a compliment but it doesn’t mean anything.”
Fleetwood take on a Gateshead side who are sixth in the table and lost at Highbury 3-1 when the sides met in September. Richard Brodie is again suspended as is Jamie McGuire, which is a particular disappointment to the Fleetwood boss because of the form the midfielder had been showing.
Mellon said: “Jamie is playing some of the best football he has ever produced for me and so is Jamie Milligan alongside hime – they have both been outstanding.
“The same can be said of Nathan Pond, who has moved from midfield to the centre of defence and he has done a terrific job for me.”
In the build-up to tomorrow’s match, Fleetwood took on Oldham Athletic at the Latics’ training-ground in a behind-closed-doors friendly.
It was particularly helpful for striker Magno Vieira, who is building back up to full fitness after a hamstring injury – the Brazilian scored in the match.
Mellon said: “He is getting better and sharper all the time and it is the same with Peter Till.”
Fleetwood will have a scout at Hartlepool tomorrow, when Yeovil are the visitors for a League One clash.
Fleetwood are at home to Yeovil Town in the second round of the FA Cup next Friday. Tomorrow will not be the first time Yeovil’s recent form has been scrutinised by Town as they leave little to chance in their preparation.