Fleetwood Town defender Ashley Eastham believes Ashley Nadesan’s performances since returning from his loan spell at Carlisle United have proven he wants to make it as a professional.
The striker’s contract at Highbury expires this summer but boss Joey Barton says the club have tabled a fresh deal to the striker.
League Two side Crawley Town have been heavily linked with a move for the striker, who has family in that area having moved to Highbury from Crawley’s non-league neighbours, Horley Town, in the summer of 2016.
Nadesan joined Fleetwood at the same time as Eastham, who went straight into the first team having got a wealth of league experience under his belt.
Nadesan, meanwhile, had to bide his time in the development squad with his involvement limited during Uwe Rosler’s time in charge.
There was a cameo off the bench in Town’s 2-0 win against AFC Wimbledon in August 2017 before being sent on loan to Brunton Park in the second half of the season.
Joey Barton’s Highbury arrival over the summer meant Nadesan was up against Chris Long, Conor McAleny, Ched Evans and Paddy Madden, as well as Ash Hunter and Wes Burns for a place in the starting XI.
It meant that Barton sent Nadesan back on loan to Carlisle at the start of this campaign to gain confidence.
He again teamed up with John Sheridan, who had replaced Rosler at Highbury, with a loan move agreed until January.
However, by the time January came around, Barton would cancel Long’s contract with the striker joining Blackpool and McAleny heading out on loan to Kilmarnock.
With Burns finding a new role at right-back or playing out wide – as was the case with Hunter – it meant Nadesan got a chance to stake his claim.
He went straight into the side on his return, featuring on 20 occasions but only scoring twice in contrast to netting nine times for Carlisle.
That second goal went to Fleetwood’s own dubious goals panel after they beat Sunderland 2-1 in the penultimate game of this season.
It had looked like centre-half Eastham had netted just his second of the season but replays showed Nadesan got the final touch.
Nadesan had endured some banter from team-mates about missed chance, so Eastham was more than happy to give him the goal.
He said: “I felt it was mine at the time but we watched it back and Nadders did get the last touch.
“Fair play to him. He deserves that because there has been a few chances this season and he has got a bit of stick for missing a few one-on-ones but he deserves that.
“He has come back from Carlisle and shown that he wants to be a professional and carve a real career for himself.
“I am more than happy to give him that goal.”