Hunter’s Fleetwood Town season takes off with wing role

Ash Hunter
Ash Hunter

He has been Fleetwood’s surprise hero at left wing-back and Ash Hunter is revelling in his new wing wizard tag.

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Town boss John Sheridan shook things up for his fourth game in charge at Rochdale by moving forward Hunter into that new role.

Despite never featuring there before, the pacy 22-year-old adapted at lightning speed in a Spotland game which kick-started Town’s four-match winning spree.

Left wing-back has been a problematic spot since the departure of Amari’i Bell to Blackburn Rovers in January.

Teams targeted that flank and prospered in Fleetwood’s eight-match losing streak.

But since Sheridan took over he has addressed the issue. Recognised left-sided defender Joe Maguire and versatile Gethin Jones both had their chance to claim the spot during Sheridan’s seven- game unbeaten rule.

But it is right-footer Hunter who has taken on the challenge with aplomb, with Preston loanee Kevin O’Connor still out of favour having failed to make an impact under previous boss Uwe Rosler.

Hunter credits his form in the role to keeping his discipline, and also to the freedom he has to bomb forward in a 3-5-2 formation which provides cover for him from centre-half Cian Bolger and the midfielders.

And Hunter’s attacking instincts shone through as he netted the opener in Monday’s 2-0 home win over Bristol Rovers.

And he is more than happy to keep doing the job at Rotherham tomorrow, especially as he is getting regular starts.

And that wasn’t the case under Rosler in the first half of the season.

Hunter said: “All the lads have been bantering me about it but I don’t mind playing there.

“We are getting the results with me playing there, so I don’t see why I should be playing anywhere else!

“It’s about keeping my discipline when I am needed to defend and then going forward when I can.

“I do think that when I go forward I have cover from Cian at left centre-back and from whoever is in the left centre mid role, so I don’t always have to worry about being back.”

The switch has certainly not impaired his eye for goal – his eighth of the season this week was another goal of the season contender.

Hunter said: “It was a great pass from Bobby Grant. Jordy left it for me and it just rolled towards me perfectly. I was never going to take a touch!

“My target was 10 goals before Christmas but hopefully I can get 12 for the season now.”