Pressley hopeful for double player return boost

Fleetwood Town boss Steven Pressley hopes talismanic defender Nathan Pond and on-loan Everton forward David Henen are back in contention for Saturday's game at Chesterfield.

Wednesday, 23rd March 2016, 6:45 am
David Henen in action for Fleetwood. Photographer Kevin Barnes/CameraSport

Striker Shola Ameobi limped off in the 2-0 Barnsely defeat but midfielder Antoni Sarcevic returned from a thigh injury to make a cameo substitute appearance in the second half.

Pressley says that on-loan Sheffield United full-back Bob Harris is also a month away from returning from injury.

With midfielder Bobby Grant - who netted three times in the development squad’s 4-2 win over Rochdale yesterday - set to serve the third game of a three match man after he was sent off for violent conduct at Burton and Northern Irish full-back Conor McLaughlin and Welsh U-21 striker Wes Burns both missing the Chesterfield game due to international duty the duo’s return would be a much needed boost.

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However, Pressley says it is too early to know whether Ameobi will be fit for Saturday and he is not counting his chickens about the likelihood of a Pond (thigh) and Henen (hamstring) return.

He said: “Pond we hope can come back into the equation this week.

“Henen is fit – he is just not match fit and we do not want to risk him breaking down again.

“He did a workout session with (fitness coach) Youl Mawene on Saturday and hopefully over the course of the week we can get him up to speed for Saturday.”

And the Town boss says the returning Sarcevic will play a key role in the survival fight.

Pressley said: “Sarcevic only trained one day prior to the Barnsley game but he is a key player for us. He is a very important player. It was good to see him back in the group and he is going to play a key role in our quest for survival.”

Town slipped to a 2-0 defeat to Barnsley at Highbury on Saturday and Pressley bemoaned the lack of a cutting edge in the final third.

Fleetwood never recovered from Joe Davis’ calamitous own goal in the 47th minute as the defender inexplicably nodded the ball over his own keeper Chris Maxwell.

Pressley says the reason for that defeat was not tactical but came down to the lack of courage and mental determination to fight back.

And with Town’s League One survival at risk and just a three-point cushion from the drop zone, Pressley says his squad need to work on their mentality ahead of Saturday’s crunch clash at Chesterfield, who are just one place above them.

A win would see Town leapfrog Chesterfield and Pressley called on his men to show more desire to win with just nine games to go.

He said: “I felt we didn’t show belief in the final third against Barnsley. I’ve told the players that.

“The shackles have got to come off. We find ourselves in really good crossing areas but we are not crossing the ball well enough.

“When the ball does come in we are not aggressive enough in the box and without a doubt there has to be a greater desire to win games of football.

“There was nothing in the game in terms of the tactical reasons. The reason we lost against Barnsley was because we went a goal down and we didn’t show the courage or the mentality to come back and win the game.

“We will work to the same principles we always work to but I think we need to work on the mentality.

“There needs to be a greater desire to get ahead on the ball when it comes in the box, a greater desire to make something happen in the final third and that is what we must add to our game.

“We have to move on from the game and ensure that when we go to Chesterfield on Saturday we win the game.”

“I think a little less than two weeks ago we were on the back of a good positive run.

“There was a really good feelgood factor but football can change really quickly.

“Three straight defeats is not good reading but we must react to that. We must put an end to this run and we must win at Chesterfield.”

First team players Jack Sowerby, Nick Haughton and Keano Deacon also featured in the development squad win.