Mellon: We’re years ahead of schedule

Fleetwood Town boss Mickey Mellon
Fleetwood Town boss Mickey Mellon
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FLEETWOOD Town players have been at odds with each other on the training pitch in the run-up to tomorrow’s home clash with struggling Altrincham – and manager Micky Mellon is delighted that arguments have broken out!

The Town boss said: “We had a training session on Tuesday, and I am not saying this because of bravado or because I am playing mind games, but it was as if the players were having their first training session of the season, rather than having just four matches to go.

“They were loving every minute of the training session and even arguing among themselves at times. I don’t mind them bickering like that because it means they want to get better.

“I would be worrying if they weren’t arguing – it just shows how keen they are to move on, progress and get things right.”

Fifth-placed Fleetwood are battling to hold on to their play-off position, while third-bottom Altrincham are fighting for survival at the bottom end of the Blue Square Bet Premier table. Back in October, Alty shocked Fleetwood by beating them 1-0.

Mellon expects an open game tomorrow. He said: “Altrincham need a win and that will influence the way they play. We have to plan accordingly.”

It will be a big day all round at Fleetwood tomorrow, with the grand opening of the Parkside Suite in the superb new East Stand, which has been completed remarkably quickly – the construction had not even started in the autumn.

Mellon said: “I wouldn’t describe it as building site before, more like a bombsite! It is a terrific achievement by all concerned to have such a fantastic stand.

“It makes us a proper football club and it is something that could be here for 100 years.”

Mellon said that Fleetwood were ahead of the game in other ways too. “We are just four matches away from the play-offs to get into the Football League, and maybe seven away from the League. Who would ever have thought people would make that statement at Fleetwood?

“At the start of the season, we sat down and talked about consolidation in this league, then maybe getting into the top ten the season after and then being in contention for the play-offs further along the line.

“We are four or five years ahead of where we thought we would be. And because of that Fleetwood are the only team in contention for the play-offs who are not under any pressure.”

Fleetwood are unlikely to make any changes from the line-up that hit Eastbourne Borough on the south coast last Saturday.

The main injury doubt centres on Nathan Pond, who has been suffering from ankle ligament damage.

Mellon said: “I think the lads who did so well against Eastbourne deserve another chance and we will make up the substitutes’ bench accordingly – we always have a plan B to put into operation if things don’t go right.”

Altrincham will be without Steve Connors, who is on loan from Fleetwood. He is suspended but would have been unavailable under the terms of his deal.

The Altrincham squad includes two former Fleetwood players – Craig Dootson and Mark Beesley. Their squad also includes former Blackpool defender Marc Joseph and another centre-back, 6ft 5in Robbie Williams, whose early days included stints at Lytham Academy and Blackpool Wren Rovers.