Challenge for Town

Andy Mangan
Andy Mangan
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FLEETWOOD Town face high-flying Gateshead at Highbury tomorrow, with manager Micky Mellon proclaiming that his side are undaunted by the prospect.

He insisted: “My lads are champing at the bit and raring to go.”

Mellon and all involved at Fleetwood are hoping that the morale-raising win at Kettering last Saturday marks a turning point in the club’s injury-ravaged start to the season.

However, Gateshead will test them to the maximum.

The North East club have made their best-ever start to a non-league campaign a half a century since they lost their Football League status.

They are joint-leaders of the Blue Square Bet Premier with Wrexham and are six points clear of the chasing pack, having won six and drawn one.

Mellon said: “It has been a tough start for us with all the injuries, but we still have the same number of points that we had at the same stage last year.”

The Fleetwood boss added: “At Kettering, we still had six out of 10 outfield players who had never played together before, but now we are hoping that we have turned the corner and we are now looking forward.

“We were excellent in the first half against Kettering, but not so good in the second, which was probably down to the fact that some of the players had not had games and were not fully match fit.”

“It is going to be a tough game against Gateshead, but we will make it tough for them and it should be a cracking match.”

Mellon is encouraged by the fact that he is seeing some light at the end of the tunnel so far as injuries are concerned.

He expects Andy Mangan and Shaun Beeley to feature tomorrow. Mellon said: “Andy is a good player and an infectious character in the dressing-room, while I don’t think there is a better attacking full-back in the division.”

Mellon has been delighted with the impact made by Jamie Vardy, who has wasted no time in settling in and making an impact.

The Fleetwood boss enthused: “Every time he takes to the field, we expect him to do something.

“He has such energy and enthusiasm and he is a very talented boy.”

Gateshead could boost their squad prior to tomorrow’s match, though Mellon was not expecting any developments on that front himself.

Ian Bogie has intimated that he could approach Newcastle and Sunderland to take young players now that the loan window has re-opened.

The Gateshead boss said: “We have a good rapport with Newcastle and Sunderland, and the fans have seen that. They have sent players here before.

“They know they will play football in the right way.

“It can benefit the young lads.”

Bogie described the trip to Fleetwood as their most difficult challenge so far.

He said: “It will be a cracker of a game because it gives us the gauge to see where exactly we are at. We have 19 points, which is fantastic.

“It’s only the misfortune of Wrexham keeping winning games that we aren’t top of the league.

“But we are still delighted to be joint top.”