Fully fit for purpose

Fleetwood v Gateshead'man of match Rob Atkinson
Fleetwood v Gateshead'man of match Rob Atkinson
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MICKY Mellon hopes Fleetwood Town will reap the rewards from their carefully assembled squad in the remaining 11 games of the season, starting in tonight’s crunch home clash with Grimsby (7.45pm).

With the exception of long-term absentees Anthony Barrie and Paul Linwood, Mellon has the rare luxury of an injury-free squad, leaving him spoiled for choice and able to rest players.

He gave Danny Rose a day off at Tamworth on Saturday, after his midweek exertions with England C, and also welcomes Richard Brodie back into the reckoning tonight after a bout of conjunctivitis.

Mellon acknowledges it’s a healthy position to be in as the season approaches its business end.

He said: “We have had it hard with injuries this season, but we worked hard to put this squad together and we are reaping the rewards now because games are coming thick and fast.

“We probably have the option to give players a breather. Danny Rose had played on Tuesday and we were always going to go into that game (Tamworth) with an aggressive midfielder (Jamie McGuire).”

Such is Town’s strength that central defender Rob Atkinson has been unable to force his way back into the side after a broken ankle.

“Rob would love to play tonight against his former club,” said Mellon, “but he’s a good pro who understands the situation. We are all in this together to try to win promotion.”

Mellon certainly welcomes having fresh players for the match between the division’s two form sides.

Just like Town, Grimsby are unbeaten in the league since October. Prior to being held at home by Braintree on Saturday, the Mariners had won nine of their previous ten in the Blue Square Bet Premier. They are four points outside the play-off zone with games in hand.

Leaders Fleetwood’s closest rivals Wrexham and Luton are not in action tonight – they face each other tomorrow – meaning Mellon’s men can open up an eight-point gap this evening.

He added: “I don’t think we need any more incentive because they are all massive games. It doesn’t matter who we play – we need to collect the points, not lose focus and stay patient.

“It should be a good and we’re looking forward to it. It’s a home tie with a lot at stake.”

Andy Mangan took his league tally for the season to 15 with his brace at Tamworth, his second in the final minute as Town sealed the victory with two late goals.

But Mellon added: “We were always in control and I never felt at any minute that we might not win the match. With the pace we have, we will punish teams who overcommit against us.

“We have prolific players in Mangan and Jamie Vardy (who netted his 26th at Tamworth), but we hope the rest of the team won’t leave the burden of scoring to them.

“Our squad is full of goals, and Gareth Seddon has weighed in with a few too.”