Fleetwood boss Steven Pressley says he will sit down with forgotten man Keith Southern but has given no assurances that the experienced midfielder has a future at Highbury.
Southern was frozen out under previous manager Graham Alexander, having struggled to break into the Fleetwood side.
Last season the 34-year-old former Seasider, who hasn’t played for Town for almost a year, took to social media to let fans know he was fit and available for selection – a move which didn’t go down well with the management.
He has since struggled with a series of injuries, recently undergoing rehabilitation sessions at the FA’s St George’s Park complex in Staffordshire, and according to new boss Pressley he is still some way off match fitness.
But with limited resources at his disposal, Pressley is keen to open talks with Southern to find out how the pair can help each other.
“He’s not fit at this moment in time. He’s had real troubles with injuries,” explained Pressley.
“As yet he’s not recovered from them. It’s something that needs to be decided.
“I think that in the coming weeks Keith is a player I’ll need to have a discussion about on his future.
“I need to know what he’s thinking about his future.
“We need to know how we can help each other moving forward. I think that’s really important.”
Pressley revealed the pair had enjoyed a recent chance encounter away from the world of football and admitted he has respect for the former Premier League midfielder.
“He’s an experienced player, who has had an exellent career,” said Pressley.
“Actually I saw him on holiday. We were staying at the same hotel. I have a lot of respect for him as a player.
“It’s something that we definitely need to sort out moving forward. In the short term my focus has to be on the fit players.”
With hauling Fleetwood out of the relegation zone his top priority, Pressley hinted that Southern’s recent injury record may be a big factor in deciding his Fleetwood future.
Pressley said: “I’ve got to assess everybody but Keith’s problem is he isn’t fit and he’s still quite a distance off.
“I think he’s had a number of setbacks and that’s going to have a big influence on the outcome of Keith’s situation.”
Southern isn’t the only major injury concern for Town.
Club captain Nathan Pond remains on the long-term absentee list, having played just five minutes this term.
“There’s not a specific timescale but he is making good progress,” said Pressley of Pond.
“We’ve also got Victor (Nirennold), who picked up a knock at the weekend.
“He hasn’t participated in training this week and we’ll have to assess him. We’ve got one or two injuries but I’ve been pleased with the group.
“There are several things I’ve identified that we need to do better on. We are lacking a little bit of speed in the team right now and that’s something over the course of time we may need to look at.
“But I really want to work hard with this group, to maximise this group of players and see where it takes us.”
In Pond’s absence, Fleetwood remain desperately short at centre-half, with short-term loans propping up their back four.
Pressley knows the lack of cover in that area has to be addressed quickly.
“It’s a concern because we’re not blessed with a massive squad or a massive number of experienced players,” he said.
“(Richard) Wood is a good character, a good influence around the place, and Tex (Dionotan Teixeira) has performed really well in the games he’s played in.
“After that we’re not blessed with a great deal of depth in the centre-back area. It’s an area we need to address over the course of time.
“Prior to my arrival, we had to employ Eggert (Jonsson) in that type of situation and even Victor (Nirennold). Both of them are more natural defensive midfield players.”