He might have missed out on the goal of the season award at the North West Football Awards to Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade Chamberlain last night but Conor McAleny could make his return to first team action in the Checkatrade Trophy at Bury tonight.
McAleny injured his hamstring in the 1-1 draw with Accrington in September and has been recovering ever since.
The injury-plagued forward has never managed 30 league games in a season.
The 26-year-old’s last league goal for Town was that strike at Oxford in April that helped to keep the club in League One and was shortlisted for last night’s regional awards in Manchester.
But now the Everton youth product is on the way back and could feature in the Checkatrade decider along with midfielder Dean Marney (calf).
Fleetwood go into tonight’s clash bottom of Northern Group B but they would qualify in second place if they beat the Shakers by two goals.
Bury need only a draw to replace Leicester Under-21 as runners-up to Rochdale.
Victory by a single-goal margin could be enough to take Fleetwood through to the knockout stages but only if they score four or more.
Barton was without striker Ched Evans (ankle) and skipper Craig Morgan for the 4-1 FA Cup win at Alfreton on Sunday and both are again doubtful for Gigg Lane.
However, Barton was boosted by the return of James Wallace and Ryan Taylor to the bench in Derbyshire, where Wallace replaced Lewie Coyle for the final half-hour
He said: “Ched had a little bit of a sore ankle and we did not want to risk him.
“Morgs had a little bit of an illness, a bit of a family illness which he has contracted.
“He has been in quarantine so he does not pass the lurgy on to the players.
“Hopefully he will be fine, whether that is in time for Tuesday or not I’m not sure but we have a fit and healthy squad. Conor McAleny (above) is on the way back.
“Dean Marney is on the way there – he just felt his calf tighten, so we did not want to risk him on Sunday.
“We are getting back to the numbers we want, which is having everyone available for selection.”