AFTER surviving an early-season injury jinx, Fleetwood Town boss Micky Mellon has now been hit by a spate of suspensions ahead of this evening’s Conference clash at Stockport County.
Mellon has only 16 available players for tonight’s first ever trip to Edgeley Park after Saturday’s two-goal hero Richard Brodie joined the banned list.
The striker has already picked up five bookings for the season and so sits out the match along with Jamie McGuire and Jamie Vardy, both in the middle of three-match suspensions.
Gareth Seddon has a broken finger but looks set to start, while Nathan Pond is included in the squad for the first time this season after an ankle opreation.
Mellon said: “Brodie has done well for us and he deserved his goals on Saturday but he has got himself suspended.
“Nathan will be in the squad, perhaps a little earlier than we intended but we are low on numbers.”
Brodie saved Town at Telford and Mellon was disappointed there was no time to press on for a fifth successive win after tying the match up at 2-2.
The manager added: “We just ran out of time and we are disappointed because we gifted them a two-goal start with the sort of defending we are not used to seeing.
“But the players’ attitude was fantastic and now we look forward to visiting one of the biggest clubs in the division tonight. Like Grimsby and Luton, they are one of the big old League clubs and we will enjoy going out on such a big stage.”
One Fleetwood player certainly relishing tonight’s test is centre-half Rob Atkinson, for whom Edgeley Park is a happy hunting ground.
“I have some good memories from there,” he recalls from his Grimsby days. “We beat them to reach the northern area final of the Johnstone Paint Trophy.”
Atkinson is the only outfield player to have spent every minute of Town’s 11 games so far this season on the field but he knows he can’t take his place for ganted.
The England C defender added: “I’m feeling good about my fitness and pleased with my performances. If you don’t perform, then the gaffer has enough central defenders here to take over. If I take my foot of the pedal I’ll be out.”
Atkinson is sorry Town will be without Brodie tonight, saying: “Richard is a proven goalscorer at this level and he did it again by banging two in against Telford. He also scored last Tuesday, coming off the bench against Kidderminster, and on Wednesday in the reserves. He can be a matchwinner.”
Former Liverpool and Manchester City midfielder Dietmar Hamann’s County side haven’t found the transition to the Conference a smooth one after 106 seasons in the Football League.
Beaten just once in 11 games, they stand only 14th after eight draws, and while Pool were scoring a stoppage time equaliser against Telford, Stockport suffered the heartache of conceding one against Tamworth.
Town could go top of the Blue Square Bet Premier with victory tonight, though they would require the three teams above them to slip up at home.