VIDEO: McAleny a doubt but Barton boosted by attacking options ahead of Rochdale clash

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Conor McAleny is an injury doubt for Fleetwood Town’s clash with Rochdale.

McAleny turned 26 last weekend but did not make it off the bench for Town’s 2-0 win over his old club Oxford at the Kassam Stadium.

Conor McAleny

Conor McAleny

The forward returned to the fray for the penalty shoot-out League Cup win over Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday but now boss Joey Barton says the striker has an ankle knock.

McAleny is yet to play 30 league games in a season because of injuries but Barton did not seem too concerned about this latest setback.

He said: “Conor McAleny has got a little bit of a bump on his ankle but apart from that we are in good fettle really.

“The lads put real good numbers out against Crewe during the week.

“The rule change of no extra-time is one I think any manager would want at this stage, certainly going into a period of Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Wednesday.....

“It is pleasing to be in the next round without accumulating that extra 30 minutes’ fatigue.”

Gretsy Road was the setting for Chris Long’s second Town debut. The 23-year-old forward’s return to the club has been blighted by a blister.

But he was one of three substitutes to score penalties in Town 4-3 shoot-out win

Speaking about Long’s unusual injury, Barton said: “It is this modern synthetic material in boots!

“Players change boots all the time, so maybe they do not last as long as they did and they are made of weird and wonderful spacedust.

“The downside of that is that they tend to give players blisters, and in Longy’s case quite a severe one.

“He is going to be an asset for us going forward. We have seen little flashes of that during the game at Crewe on Tuesday.

“But we knew we wanted to get penalty-takers on the pitch because we had practised that in the week.”

Midfielder James Wallace is Town’s only other doubt and Barton is pleased to have a selection headache ahead of Rochdale’s visit to Highbury.

The Town boss made five change for the League One match at Oxford and eight for Tuesday’s cup-tie at Crewe.

He said: “The beauty of having the squad we have is that you can look at the opposition and maybe pick out elements of our squad who would benefit more from playing against them.

“There is always toing and froing in football. If someone has a strength, it also might give them a weakness. We are always probing for that.

“Every battle is different. And s much as we want to remain true to our principles, there are some subtleties we feel we can exploit because of our versatility.”