Stephen Crainey places trust in young Fleetwood Town players ahead of Papa John's Trophy tie at Bolton

Interim boss Stephen Crainey has expressed his faith in Fleetwood Town’s young players ahead of tonight’s Papa John’s Trophy knockout tie at Bolton Wanderers (7pm).

By Andy Moore
Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 8:00 am

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Fleetwood Town's togetherness impresses new boss Stephen Crainey

It’s a competition in which clubs frequently blood younger players, though Fleetwood’s injury problems mean several Academy graduates have become League One regulars this season.

That’s no problem to Crainey, who brought them through in his role as Under-23s chief before assuming first-team duties last week.

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Danny Andrew has been a Fleetwood ever-present in League One this season but was injured at Wimbledon on Saturday

The 40-year-old said: “I’ve coached some of these lads for a couple of years. They are good footballers and they have a right chance in the game. They have been excellent and hopefully we can keep that up moving forward.”

Crainey, whose spell at the helm started with a 2-2 draw at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, has been impressed by the unity shown by the whole squad.

The former Scotland international added: “There was real desire and determination, which was really pleasing. I want the group to take that on moving forward, not just in games but in training.

“They’re a good group of players and I’ve always known that. There’s a good blend of youth and experience, and we move on to Bolton on Tuesday and hopefully get a positive result.”

Asked whether he would like his current role to become a permanent one, Crainey’s answer after the Wimbledon game was the same as he gave before it.

“The chairman has told me to take interim charge and I’ll do it day to day until I’m told otherwise,” he said.

“I’m quite content with the way things are. It’s interim charge until further notice.”

Crainey could not provide an injury update on Harrison Holgate, who was stretchered off at Wimbledon, and Danny Andrew, who was also forced out of the game early.

Andrew has been an ever-present for Town in League One this season, while Holgate was starting only his second game after missing three months with an Achilles problem.

Crainey said: “We will get an update from the medical team, assess the squad and take it from there. We’ll take a good look at the squad ahead of the game on Tuesday.”

One of Town's young players, Cian Hayes, has extended his contract at Highbury.

The 18-year-old forward, whose four senior appearances have all come in the EFL Trophy, has agree a deal until the summer of 2024.

Hayes has spent the past month on loan with National League club FC United of Manchester, making four appearances and scoring twice,

Fleetwood Under-18s' FA Youth Cup third-round tie away to last season's runners-up Liverpool will take place on Saturday, December 11 at the Reds' Academy base, with a 5.30pm kick-off.

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