His birthday week has already had a goal-den start and as Fleetwood’s number 22 Ash Hunter celebrates his 22nd birthday today fellow September birthday boy Kyle Dempsey has backed him to get a starting role soon.
Hunter has formed a reputation as an impact player off the bench since his arrival from Ilkeston FC in 2015, with 10 of his 17 league goals coming as a substitute
Three of those have come this term with Hunter netting three times in 155 minutes of league football so far.
The goals have been vital too; a last-gasp penalty earning a 2-2 draw against Oldham Athletic, the winner in the 3-2 victory over Bury and the third in Tuesday’s 3-0 win at Bradford City.
However, starts have been in short supply for Hunter and Wes Burns given Conor McAleny’s start to his Town career, Devante Cole’s seven goals and Jordy Hiwula’s three.
Burns got his first league start of the season in Town’s 4-2 defeat to Southend United last weekend but Hunter’s pal Dempsey, who also turned 22 earlier this month, says the forward’s time will come as they prepare to host Charlton Athletic tomorrow.
He said: “Ash is one of my best mates here and I always say to him ‘keep your head, keep it going, don’t lose it and don’t lose your will to play’.
“The three times he has come off the bench, he has scored.
“At Bradford he scored within his first couple of touches and it shows his mental side is really good, he is working hard, grafting away, scoring his goals and his time will come and he will get his run of games.”
But Dempsey was also full of praise for Cole, who netted from the midfielder’s pinpoint cross at Bradford.
Talking through that goal Dempsey said: “I had the free-kick; it has hit the wall, I’ve had another chance and as soon as it came out to us I saw four of them charging.
“I thought ‘the only thing I can do here is kick it down the line and get the ball in’ and I just knocked it past them, went down the line and slid it in for Devante to make it 2-0 and that kind of put the game at ease for us.”