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Nicholson calls on Fleetwood youngsters to shine in Checkatrade once again

Could Conor McAleny make his return to the starting line-up against Bury tonight?
Could Conor McAleny make his return to the starting line-up against Bury tonight?

Fleetwood first team coach Barry Nicholson wants Town's young guns to fire them through to the last eight of the Checkatrade Trophy with victory at Bury tonight.

Town are expected to field a revamped team from the one that drew 0-0 with Leicester City in the FA Cup on Saturday, with many first teamers set to be rested and midfielder George Glendon absent due to his appearance in Grimbsy Crown Court to answer a rape charge.

One man from the first team who could feature is Bobby Grant, whose return from a knee injury is imminent, while striker Conor McAleny (ankle), who has featured off the bench in Town’s last three games, could be in line to make his first start since the 2-0 win over Oxford in October.

And Town’s first team coach Barry Nicholson says the much derided trophy has been an important platform for them to both blood youngsters and give returning players game-time as they bid to make it five wins from five.

Nicholson said: “That is important, as well as playing the young lads we have played boys who have desperately needed minutes.

“I think we will do that again. We are confident with the team we are putting out there and hopefully we can get through.

“We have used the competition (to give youngsters a chance) and to be fair the young lads that have come into the group and played in this Checkatrade Trophy have done exceptionally well.

“We have four wins out of four, topped the group and got through against Chesterfield, so it is a chance for them to impress again.

“I think the big thing is that when they get on the pitch in these games they catch the eye and do what the manager asks of them, and they have done that so far.”

New signings Paddy Madden and Gethin Jones cannot feature due to being cup-tied as is midfielder Toumani Diagouraga, who officially joins the club from Plymouth today.

Elliot Osborne returned from his loan at Morecambe but he too is cup-tied and is expected to go back out on loan this month.

Godswill Ekpolo is suspended tonight after picking up two yellow cards in the competition.

And Nicholson, who worked with Bury boss Chris Lucketti at Town during his stint as assistant manager under both Graham Alexander and Steven Pressley, is looking forward to facing his pal once again.

Town are bidding to repeat last month's win at Gigg Lane and will not roll over and allow Lucketti's League One basement side to end their poor run of form.

Nicholson said: “It is a game that we will take deadly seriously and I’m sure Bury will be the same.

“Chris and his boys will be looking for a win after a few poor results. We know it will be a difficult game.

"We were there a couple of weeks ago and we know exactly what we are going to face, so the boys will have to be ready.

“They are looking for a result. They are in the exact same position as us, knowing there is a chance to get to Wembley and win a trophy, so it will be tough but we are happy with the group we have got and hopefully we can do it again.”