Town entertainers aim for top of bill

Gateshead v Fleetwood'Peter Cavanagh makes his first start of the season
Gateshead v Fleetwood'Peter Cavanagh makes his first start of the season
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IF Fleetwood Town succeed in going top of the non-league tree tonight, their stay at the summit is likely to be brief – but that doesn’t bother manager Micky Mellon in the slightest.

Stretching their unbeaten run in the Blue Square Bet Premier to seven games at home to crisis club Kettering (7.45pm) will take Town to the top, at least until Wrexham play Darlington tomorrow.

And the likelihood is that Mellon’s side will again have some catching up to do by the time they next play a league fixture on December 17.

But the boss said: “All the players here should want to get to the top of the league, no matter how long for. At present the table says we’re the second-best team after 21 teams but what matters is being the best team after 46.

“But the chance to go top gives us that extra bit of motivation, though what we want most is to back up a good away point at Gateshead with a home win.”

That point was secured thanks a 14th goal of the season by Jamie Vardy, who Mellon rated no better than 70 per cent fit having failed to train all week due to a foot injury.

And Vardy looks set to feature again tonight, having scored twice in September’s 3-2 win at Kettering, even though Town welcome Yeovil to Highbury for an eagerly anticipated FA Cup second round tie just three days later.

Click here to see Town’s latest results, league position and up coming fixtures.

Mellon said: “Jamie has kicked somebody on the stud but he’s a little better. We’re in the middle of three games in seven days, which will always be difficult, but Jamie doesn’t like to miss games.”

Skipper Steve McNulty could come back into the reckoning, though Ryan Charnock stood in admirably as defensive marshal at Gateshead on his loan debut from Morecambe.

Mellon added: “Steve did a bit of running on Monday and we’ll take a look at him, but Charnock is very experienced and a good organiser, He is a good addition to our back four.”

Definitely back in the frame after a one-match suspension is Jamie McGuire, whose absence on Tyneside afforded Peter Cavanagh his first opportunity of the season in an unaccustomed central midfield role.

And Cavanagh hopes he has given Mellon a tricky choice after his lengthy injury absence. He said: “I was aware there might be an opportunity on Saturday. I’d done pretty much all pre-season, so the fitness base should be there and it’s just about sharpness which can only come from games. I’ve got to make sure I stay in the gaffer’s line of sight.

“I suppose I’m Mr Versatile, but I’ll play up front or anywhere as long as I get to run around.”

McGuire is taking nothing for granted - not his own recall and certainly not the three points, though Kettering have been hit by a cash crisis and have won only one in six.

McGuire said: “Cav did a great job but I’m back in contention and we’ll see who the gaffer picks.

“I remember Kettering brought two big subs on up front at their place they caused us a lot of problems. They have lost a lot of players (such as Jean-Paul Marna, whose two goals left Town sweating on the three points last time) but we just have to concentrate on ourselves and getting the three points.”

There’s more good news on the suspension front, with confirmation that Kettering old boy Gareth Seddon has been booked four times not five, and so is available tonight. However, Town are again without striker Richard Brodie as he completes his three-match ban.

Suspensions are something Mellon accepts as part and parcel: “Yes, they are par for the course and we don’t moan about them,” he said. “We do sem to be getting a lot, but if you are competing at the top of the league that’s going to happen.”

PLAYER INTERVIEWS: DAVID MITCHELL