MICKY Mellon has called on his Fleetwood Town side to be more clinical at both ends of the field in their search for more consistency after an up up-and-down start to 2011.
Town’s 5-2 triumph at Mansfield was a highpoint of the season, but Town have lost both their other Blue Square Bet Premier games on the road since the turn of the year and have drawn their last two at Highbury.
Tuesday’s 2-1 reverse at Kettering was deja vu day for Mellon as Town failed to take the chances and conceded a vital goal from a set-piece, just as they had in Saturday’s home draw with Hayes and Yeading.
It was the set-piece defending which alarmed Mellon most in midweek, though he knows that every game without a goal adds pressure to the shoulders of new striker George Donnelly.
Tomorrow’s visitors Forest Green are among the teams to have frustrated Town in front of goal this year, beating Mellon’s men courtesy of the only goal by Steve Guinan three weeks ago.
Donnelly made his Town debut that day in Gloucestershire and four matches later he is still waiting to hit the goal trail, but Mellon has every confidence in his record signing from Plymouth.
“Any striker will want to get off the mark but the goals will come with time for George,” he said. “He brings a lot more to the table and leads the line terrifically well.
“He works very hard it would be unfair to say we brought him here just to scored goals. Of course he will have to pitch in at some point and I have every confidence that will happen very soon.
“We have to be more clinical as a team but I’d be more concerned if we were not creating chances. Maybe they are just falling to the wrong people at the wrong time.
“I’m confident we will create chances against Forest Green and sooner or later our luck in front of goal will change.”
But Mellon insists his side must be more clinical at the other end too.
“We have to take more responsibility and to lose a goal because somebody doesn’t pick up his man at a set play is very frustrating and disappointing. The first goal at Kettering changed the whole direction of the game.”
Mellon’s options to make changes at the back are limited by injury. Right-back Shaun Beeley is again a likely absentee with an abductor strain, while centre-half Paul Linwood is not expected to resume training for a further three weeks after his knee operation.
At least Mellon has healthy competition at left-back, with Alan Wright battling to regain his place from Junior Brown.
Jamie Milligan is also chomping at the bit to start after a knee problem which has restricted him to the bench in the last two matches.
But Mellon advises caution: “Milli sometimes comes off the pitch feeling fine but gets a reaction afterwards, so we will see how it goes today.”
Should Milligan return in midfield, Anthony Barry could switch to right-back as cover for Beeley, though Mellon seems more likely to persist with Peter Cavanagh in that role.
Sure to keep his role in midfield is Jamie McGuire, who has scored in the last two games.
He said: “We were unlucky at Forest Green, where we didn’t put our chances away, but it’s a big game on Saturday.
“We’re on our home ground with our fans behind us. We need to win games and stay in the play-offs”
Team-mate Sean Clancy added after a tough training session yesterday: “We need to bounce back after Tuesday. The main goal is getting three points and we’re back at home.
“It’s a chance to put things right and follow up some of what we did on the training ground today.”
Forest Green boss David Hockaday knows a thing or two about the right-back position, having made over 500 League appearances there – the first 147 of those for Blackpool over eight seasons from 1975.
Hockaday’s side have taken just one point from two games since beating Town and stand just two points above the relegation zone.
They have signed two strikers since last facing Fleetwood, Liam Enver-Marum and ex-Gillingham frontman Jacob Erskine. Neither has yet started, though the former has been a sub in the last two games.