JOEY Barton could figure for Fleetwood Town at Highbury on Saturday, in a pre-season friendly with Tranmere Rovers.
The Queens Park Rangers midfielder, who has been given permission by the Hoops to train with Town to get fit, played 45 minutes in a closed match at Kilmarnock in midweek, and might well play again as Fleetwood take on Mellon’s old club Tranmere.
Mellon said: “I have so many things to sort out on coming back from Scotland with the team, that I haven’t really had time to think a lot about Joey and Saturday.
“I am led to believe that Joey could play for us on Saturday, and until somebody tells me the opposite he is allowed to play.
“He is a few weeks behind us because he hasn’t trained as much, but he has been a real, positive influence on the group.
“You can see that everyone wants to get to his high standards.”
Barton himself said of his experience training with Fleetwood and getting 45 minutes under his belt in the 4-1 win over Killie: “It feels painful and I’m a little bit stiff.
“This was only my fifth day of pre-season after eight or nearly nine weeks sitting with my feet up after the exploits of Premier League season last year.
“They (Fleetwood players) have been away in Austria and doing quite an intensive pre-season programme.
“This was about their third or fourth game now, and you can see that.
“They are really sharp and starting to look like a team.
“It was just a pleasure to be out there and get a sweat on.
“It’s a start to that much-needed fitness and that’s the whole reason of coming to Fleetwood.”
Barton felt Fleetwood would take plenty of encouragement into Saturday’s home friendly against Tranmere Rovers.
“I’m not being unfair to Kilmarnock if I say 4-0 flattered them.
“It could have been six, seven or eight, and that was a testament to the football the lads played.
“Certainly the lads in the first half had a couple of good chances.
“In the second half when I was involved, the lads created some really good chances.
“I certainly think Fleetwood can take a lot of positives out of the game.
“There was some good passages of play and, when I was watching in the first half, it made it more pleasing been part of the second half.”
Barton was a spectator for last Friday’s home defeat against League One side Oldham Athletic, and he said Town took that game as a wake-up call.
“I watched the Oldham game and everyone involved with the club was disappointed with the level of performance.
“Pre-season is about fitness and we had done fitness work a couple of days before the game.
“That means you start the match a little bit tired from the sessions.
“That’s pre-season and it’s more about fitness than the level of performance.
“But it’s always good to put game time under your belt like the lads have done.
“You then start seeing patterns of play emerge and, more importantly, scoring goals and winning games.
“Winning is a really good habit to get into and the sooner you do that then the better.
“If Fleetwood can build a little bit of momentum going into the Nottingham Forest and Torquay games with a win against Tranmere, which will be a test, then they will hopefully be off to a flying start in the League Cup and League Two campaign.”
- KIERAN Charnock has joined Blue Square Bet Premier side Macclesfield Town on loan.
The defender, who signed for Fleetwood from Morecambe last season, will remain with the Silkmen until January.