THE instant impact of winger Jamie Vardy has given Fleetwood Town a huge boost ahead of this afternoon’s testing visit to Conference pace-setters Wrexham.
The former Halifax winger’s eye-catching debut was the biggest plus point in Friday night’s goalless Highbury draw with York, and Vardy was no doubt one of the first names on manager Micky Mellon’s team-sheet for today’s trip to North Wales.
Mellon said: “Vardy is a special player, who we have been watching for a year. Preston, Huddersfield and Crewe were having a stand-off and we had to move quickly.
“You haven’t been able to get a seat in the stand at Halifax for all the scouts coming to watch him.
“We had a short opening to get the deal done and we did it. Vardy is two-footed, aggressive and very quick, and he can play on either wing.”
Vardy, who netted 33 goals as Halifax romped into the Conference as Evo-Stik League champions, said: “This league is a bit quicker than I’m used to but I think I adapted quite well.
“Hopefully I can carry on this standard of performance throughout the season. Whenever I am in wide positions I will try to whip it in early.
“The transfer happened quite quickly but I’m just glad it all got sorted in time to play in the two bank holiday games.”
He formed an instant rapport down the right with fellow debutant Daniel Holmes, the full-back on loan from Tranmere, and Mellon added: “They didn’t even know each other until the day of the York game but you would not have thought so.”
Town could do with Vardy finding his free-scoring form without delay, having scored only once in their last four games.
Despite keeping four clean sheets in five Blue Square Bet premier outings, Town have still conceded more than they have scored and they face an unbeaten Wrexham side who have won their last four and netted seven goals in two games.
To be fair, Town still face massive injury disruption. None of the eight players ruled out on Friday is expected to feature today, though full-backs Shaun Beeley and Junior Brown could be available for Saturday’s trip to Kettering.
Mellon said: “We still think we are capable of beating anyone at home and we should have beaten York. In the closing minutes there was only one team looking for the final whistle and it wasn’t us.
“You expect a tough game against one of the promotion favourites but we had the chances to get the three points.
“We made the eight (close-season) signings we wanted early but then players started dropping like flies.
“We suddenly found we were lacking cover and had a team of centre-halves and strikers, so we had to go back into the transfer market.
“We’ve used 12 new players already this season which was certainly not what we set out to do.”
It all means that instead of building on an outstanding first season at non-league’s top level, Mellon instead feels as though he is moulding a new team.
The starting ten outfield players on Friday night included only three from last season, though Alex-Ray Harvey arguably made it four after returning to Town for a second loan stint from Burnley.
The midfielder had Town’s best chance to break the deadlock against York and he said: “It was disappointing not to get the three points because I think we had the better chances and were unlucky.
“It was important that we bounced back from Tuesday’s defeat at Barrow and I think we put in a positive performance.
“It’s always been part of my game to get forward, so I hope I can chip in with a few goals while I’m here.”