A HOME FA Cup tie against League One strugglers Wycombe awaits the winners of tonight’s Highbury replay, but Fleetwood Town manager Micky Mellon insists his side doesn’t need the incentive of a mouthwatering draw to beat Mansfield at the second attempt.
Ahead of tonight’s fourth qualifying round rematch, Mellon said: “A chance to reach the first round proper should be incentive enough because this is a competition that excites us and one we love being involved in.
“We know that there is a great prize for the team that wins and that adds a bit of spice, but we have a group of players here that just wants to win games of football.”
Victory eluded them on Saturday, when Ross Dyer’s second-half equaliser cancelled out another Jamie Milligan free-kick special.
But Mellon added: “We had great chances to win it and never took them on the day, but it was a terrific game and I thought both sets of players treated it like a proper tie.
“What we know is that it will be a very difficult game and that we will have to be somewhere near our best, or at our best, to get through.”
Full-back Junior Brown will be given until the last-minute to prove his fitness after an early exit on Saturday. The good news is that the injury is unrelated to the left-back’s troublesome knee problems ... but is still very delicate.
“Junior got a knock where no boy over the age of 12 wants one,” Mellon explained. “We will give him as much time as possible, right up to kick-off, before we make a decision but we have enough confidence in the squad we not to risk a player who is not 100 per cent.
“We are on good run of form and all the lads are starting to reach peak fitness. We have the confidence which comes from good results.” Richard Brodie is in contention too, though Mellon fears that may not have been the case had he not withdrawn the striker at half-time on Saturday.
“Brodie had been booked and we were concerned he could get a red card,” the manager explained.
“The crowd were on his back and so we decided to act to take the sting out of the situation because we need all the squad members available.
“Richard is very enthusiastic. Sometimes that enthusiasm can be misinterpreted and we have to protect him from himself at times.”
None of Town’s three recent loan recruits will be involved again tonight. Charlie Wassmer has a toe injury, while Mellon has agreed not to select the defender’s Crawley clubmate Glenn Wilson and Wimbledon Ryan Jackson and so get them cup-tied. Those Mellon is looking for a big performance from tonight will definitely include the Cod Army faithful.
He said: “The fans have been superb. We need them to create an atmosphere to make it a proper cup tie. They have a responsibility tonight just as my players have.”
n Town attacker Gareth Seddon hopes for a different sort of game to Saturday’s, and one in which Town’s footballing qualities come more to the fore.
Seddon said: “We will be able to use our passing game a bit more and we know a little more about them.
“We have done well at Highbbury and made it a bit of a fortress. With the players we have, we can try to pass teams off the park here, and hopefully we can get a goal or two up and put the game to bed.
“It’s disappointing that we did not finish the job on Saturday because I thought that for near enough all of the game we looked in control. They didn’t look like scoring until they did and then they put us under pressure in the last 15 minutes.”
The 31-year-old is happy with his season so far despite the ever-increasing competition for places at Highbury.
He added: “ I was a bit disappointed to break my nose and then my finger when I was putting a bit of a run together, but I think I’ve done really well up front and on the wing.”
Player interviews: David Mitchell & Derick Thomas