FLEETWOOD Town striker Magno Vieira could be out of action for up to six weeks with a damaged hamstring.
That is the latest injury blow to be dealt on Fleetwood as they prepare for tomorrow’s match of the day in the Blue Square Bet Premier away to Braintree Town.
Vieira netted for Fleetwood’s second-minute opener in the 4-2 win at Stockport on Tuesday but later had to withdraw.
Manager Micky Mellon reflected ruefully: “It seems to be a case of one step forward, two steps back when it comes to injuries.
“It is difficult to say exactly how long he will be out, but with a hamstring it could be between four and six weeks.
“That means we only have 16 fully fit players, and two of them are goalkeepers.
“We had a ‘full’ bench against Stockport but one of those (substitutes) was Nathan Pond, who only came out of plaster two weeks ago.”
The only room for manoeuvre that Mellon has is the availability of striker Richard Brodie, who scored twice against Telford last Saturday but picked up his fifth booking in that game and so served a one-match ban in midweek.
Jamie Vardy and Jamie McGuire will miss the trip to Braintree as they complete their three-match suspensions.
Fleetwood could well go into the loan market to augment their squad but Mellon said he did not expect anything concrete to happen before tomorrow’s game.
The manager added: “We are always looking at ways and means to improve the team and there are things on the go.”
Braintree are the form team of the moment, Alan Devonshire’s side having won their last six matches to go second in the table, one place above Fleetwood.
Their latest victory was Tuesday’s 3-1 home success over Tamworth and Mellon is fully aware of the potential threat posed by Braintree, champions of Blue Square South last season.
He said: “They have kept on the winning habit from last season and they are not the surprise package any more.
“They have already proved that they are a very competitive team at this level.
“For that they have to be respected and they are a part-time club as well.”
Braintree changed manager in the close-season despite promotion. Rod Stringer, who masterminded their title success, left the club after a contract dispute, but the transition has been seamless since Devonshire, who is best known from his playing days with West Ham, took the reins.
Fleetwood are likely to come up against a side that ‘plays the West Ham way’ – at any rate, that is Mellon’s expectation.
He said of Devonshire: “When you are brought up to play football in a particular way, I would expect you would be the same as a manager.
“We have had Braintree watched a few times and they have some very talented footballers.
“They will make it tough for us, but if we play the way I know we can we will make it tough for them.”
Devonshire says that consolidation in this league is the primary aim, rather than harbouring thoughts of promotion.
He said: “We’ve only got another 25 points to go and that’s all I’m looking at.
“We have to get those 50 points, and when we do I’ll reassess and tell you what our next target is.
“Football can kick you in the face sometimes but at the moment it’s going great.
“The fans are enjoying the journey, the staff are and so are the players.”