FLEETWOOD Town may have found goals hard to come by so far in pre-season ... but that’s a great omen!
It was the same story last summer, when Town went on to win promotion to the Football League as the top scorers in the Conference.
It’s why manager Micky Mellon is not unduly concerned by his side’s failure to find the net against a Blackburn Rovers XI or against Conference clubs Gateshead and Stockport, with whom Town drew 0-0 in their latest outing on Tuesday.
On the contrary, the Town boss is delighted with what he has seen so far from a squad featuring nine new signings, and which will be joined in training today by a certain Joey Barton.
Mellon said: “We knew it would be a good runout at Stockport, and it went just as we expected.
“We played some good football. This isn’t an XI who have played before, so it shows we are getting something right and they are listening.
“We created a host of chances and I’m really pleased to get the players match-time under their belts. Everything has been very positive.”
Mellon’s only cause for concern was a tendency to squander possession in the first half, but Mellon added: “I told them at half-time that the only time they would have to defend would be when they gave the ball away. Otherwise I don’t remember Stockport creating any chances.
“They can all be pleased with the shift they put it. They showed good movement, creativity and intensity. Experience tells me that pre-season games will be like this but I want to see a lot of passing and I am.”
Town will get another tough workout at home to League One Oldham tomorrow and Mellon said: “It’s is a terrific test. This game will be all about possession, fitness and movement. It’s about me finding out more about the group and I’m delighted so far.”
Town’s latest signings Conor McLaughlin, who played the full 90 minutes, and David Ball featured at Stockport.
As for half-time substitute Ball, Mellon added: “David had just finished a medical before the game and it was important to get some good match-time for him.
“He showed what he is all about and Conor was fantastic, but I’m really pleased with what I’m seeing from the whole group.”
Striker Ball is pleased his transfer from Peterborough has finally been completed, bringing him back to his native North-West
Ball said: “Obviously it has taken a long time but things are finally done and I want to kick on and be with the team.
“It’s definitely a help to be from Manchester and my girlfriend is from Liverpool. A few of the Fleetwood lads drive in from that way, so it’s an ideal move all round.”
A Manchester City youth product, the 22-year-old believes his background stands him in good stead. He added: “I have experience of a big club with big players. I got on the bench a couple of times at City and travelled with the squad.
“You learn massive amounts that way and it makes me appreciate that Fleetwood Town are trying to do things properly, like a Premier League club. That was a big attraction.
“I’ve always heard about how they have gone through the leagues and played really good football. I came to see the place and wanted to get the deal done as quickly as possibly. I heard how Micky wants to play and it will suit me.
“I’ve scored a few goals in the Championship and quite a few in League One (on loan with Rochdale last season), so I have a good record and will take that experience into my games at Fleetwood.”
Interviews: David Mitchell