Bittersweet day for patient Charnock

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KIERAN Charnock could be excused for being less disappointed than his Fleetwood Town team-mates over the display which saw their 29-match unbeaten league run halted at Cambridge last Saturday.

After all, the 27-year-old was happy just to be on the pitch at all, having been told in February that his season was probably over after calf and ankle injuries.

But the fully-fit centre-half played the 90 minutes at Cambridge, his first appearance since the December win at Newport in which he was sent off.

Preston-born Charnock joined Town from Morecambe, for whom he never made a league appearance, on an 18-month deal in January, having signed on loan as defensive cover last November.

While Town were racing towards Conference glory, Charnock was on the slow road to recovery and all his hard work was rewarded last weekend, when Nathan Pond was rested and he partnered captain Steve McNulty in the heart of defence.

Former Wigan trainee Charnock said: “It was good to get a game under my belt but the result was massively disappointing.

“It was a bittersweet day, having been told in February that I probably wouldn’t play again this season.

I’ve been on the bench for plenty of games but I’m pleased to have got 90 minutes.

Manager Micky Mellon said: “Pondy has been great for us in defence this season and I don’t like to make too many changes, but Saturday was an opportunity to give Kieran a run.

“He had been fit for some time but the team as a whole were not good enough on Saturday.”

Charnock is not among those Town players worrying over his contract for next season, but he is as keen as anyone to impress against Luton on Saturday if he gets another run-out.

The former Peterborough, Accrington and Torquay player said: “We had along chat after the Cambridge game and we were all gutted at losing.

“We wanted to keep the unbeaten run going, and we were sorry for the fans who had travelled such a long way.

“But now we have a full week in training and are looking forward to putting it right on Saturday.”

*Town’s Saturday opponents Luton can clinch the final Blue Square Bet Premier play-off spot with victory at Gateshead tonight. Should the Hatters fail to win, though, Kidderminster would still be able to overhaul them on the final day.

Kieran Charnock was talking to Derick Thomas