Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler was delighted to see Bobby Grant return from injury to help Town secure a place in the final eight of the Checkatrade Trophy.
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They beat Bury 3-2 at Gigg Lane thanks to a Jordy Hiwula brace and Grant’s penalty, though they were forced to fight for victory after Bury substitutes Harry Bunn and Dai Wai-tsun netted.
Grant made his first appearance since picking up a freak knee injury at half-time in Town’s 2-2 draw at Blackburn Rovers in October and played for an hour.
Forward Conor McAleny also impressed on his first start since aggravating an ankle injury in the 2-0 win over Oxford in October.
Rosler was delighted with the learning curve experienced by Town’s mix of young development squad players and first teamers against former Town assistant boss Chris Lucketti’s Shakers.
Rosler said: “Fifth win in the competition, prize money was high and the chairman should be really happy.
“The younger ones throughout the competition have done well and they did tonight.
“I’m delighted to see Bobby Grant back, Conor back and Jordy Hiwula was outstanding. The two strikers were outstanding.
“The last 15 minutes was chaos. That is what you get in those situations, when you are right up against the wall, and we had a very inexperienced team out there.
“They will get better from the experience they gained and we won the game, which was the most important thing.
“In the first half I enjoyed our football. We should have been up by more than two but we opened the door with an individual mistake for Bunn to score.
“In the second half Bury made changes, caused us more problems and gave it their all, but we stood firm.
“We had a bit of luck with one or two blocked shots but overall I’m delighted.”
And Rosler was pleased with the blossoming relationship between forwards Hiwula and McAleny, who started at the front of a 3-5-2 formation.
He added: “I saw the relationship in the summer, when they played together in pre-season. I think there is some sort of chemistry between them.
“They had not trained for a long time together, and the way they combined in the first half they looked like they had played all their life together.
“They both looked really sharp and dangerous, and they helped with the defensive work too. I’m delighted with both of them.”