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Big chance for second keeper at Fleetwood Town

Matty Urwin
Matty Urwin

The role of second goalkeeper is up for grabs at Fleetwood Town, though a new one is not top of Town’s wish-list this summer despite reports linking them to Bradford City’s  Colin Doyle.

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It was a topsy-turvy term for Alex Cairns, who lost his place Town number one to Chris Neal for six weeks after Christmas.

Cairns returned to his form of the 2016/17 season after John Sheridan took charge, keeping clean sheets in seven of Town’s final 10 games.

And now Neal has moved on with skipper Nathan Pond to Salford City, there is a vacancy to compete with Cairns at Highbury.

That opening may have arisen too early for England Under-17 World Cup winner Billy Crellin, who has since impressed for the national Under-18s in China.

However, there could be a big pre-season ahead for Matty Urwin, who was loaned last season to a Chorley side that had the second-best defensive record in National League North.

The Chorley squad included Josh Wilson, cousin of Fleetwood’s incoming head coach Joey Barton.

Barton took in a few games at Victory Park and so has already cast an eye over Urwin, 24, who joined Town from AFC Fylde in the summer of 2016 and has just extended his contract for another year.

Sources at Fleetwood suggest 32-year-old Doyle, who was famously sold by Blackpool to Bradford for £1, is not on their radar.

He will also run the rule over Town’s development squad to see if any of those players can be integrated into the first-team set-up.

Urwin and striker Ashley Nadesan, who enjoyed a successful loan spell at League Two Carlisle and was a team-mate of Town’s new first-team coach Clint Hill, are two development squad players pushing to step up.

Stuart Murdoch, who is head of player pathways at the club, said: “Matt Urwin had an exceptional season at Chorley and got their young player of the year award. They got to the play-offs and were unfortunate to lose to Harrogate in the last minute.

“The next step for all the players is to come in for pre-season and impress the new manager, then we have to decide what the pathway is from there.

“It might be that the younger ones come in and the manager goes, ‘Yeah!’ Nadesan in particular has got to do that.

“Will Matt Urwin become the second-choice goalkeeper and push to be the first-choice?

“Will Dan Mooney, Lewis Baines and Ged Garner be closer to the squad, so that they need to be round here rather than going out on loan again?”

Those three had successful loans to non-league clubs, whereas Victor Nirennold and Alex Reid made less impact in their spells away.

They will all be assesed by Barton and Murdoch added: “The aim is that they come back here and are successful.

“We try to find the best pathway to get a player in and around our first team, or if they are not going to get that far we decide what is the best career pathway for them.

“We want them to do well at the clubs they go to on loan, but we are really assessing whether their level is good enough to be in the group here.”