ANTHONY Barry played more minutes than any other Fleetwood Town player last season ... but he won’t repeat that feat this term.
The midfielder faces knee surgery and won’t play again in 2011 – the latest cruel twist in Town’s injury-cursed start to the Conference season.
The 25-year-old is to have surgery after damaging knee cartilage in Town’s opening home game against Darlington.
Liverpudlian Barry said: “It was a hefty challenge which dislocated my knee and chipped off some cartilage. I’m expecting to be out for four to five months.
“After getting over a pre-season injury and making the first match at Grimsby, I couldn’t have asked for a worse start but its part and parcel of life as a footballer.
“It’s an injury that I’ve had in the past and it was more serious then. I thought I’d put it behind me but sadly not.
“It’s difficult watching the lads on the pitch and in training but you can’t complain. You get well paid to play football and when you are injured it’s your job to stay fit and be ready to return.”
The injuries have certainly played a part in Town’s disappointing start, with eight ruled out in recent games.
Former Accrington, York and Chester player Barry added: “The gaffer must be really frustrated because he’s built a squad which is good enough to go up.
“There’s still plenty of ability available, including in the midfield. We just need to start picking up form. The Cod Army must bear with us because when everyone’s back to fitness we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
The injury crisis has hit Town’s wide players hardest, prompting several further additions to the squad.
Jamie Vardy and Danny Holmes arrived a week ago and were thrown straight into the starting line-up for the holiday weekend double-header against York and Wrexham.
Right-back Holmes’ arrival on loan from Tranmere was low-key compared to that of hot property Vardy, but the 22-year-old has slotted in well.
A native of the Wirral, Holmes has returned to Prenton Park for a second stint after spending the last two seasons with TNS in the Welsh Premier League. Yet to feature for Rovers this season, he welcomed the loan move and feels he has fitted in well at Highbury.
Holmes said: “When I went back to Tranmere I was not in the best physical shape but hopefully I can show what I can do here, then go back and get into the team. But first I want to help Fleetwood push up the table.
“The Conference is a really good standard and I’m loving it. I just hope to get a few more games under my belt.
“I have been playing reserve league and the tempo in this league is really good. Some of the players could certainly be at a higher level.”
As for his two matches so far, Holmes added: “When I made my debut against York last Friday I had not trained with the lads, but I was happy with my performance and I thought we were unlucky not to win.
“We did not get best of starts at Wrexham, but I thought we went on to dominate the rest of the first half and we started the second really well.
“But when they scored their second, the lads looked a bit dejected and we can’t be like that. The second goal killed us.”
Interviews: David Mitchell