FLEETWOOD Town boss Micky Mellon remains fully committed to attacking down the flanks despite losing five wide players to injury.
Mellon vowed not to change his tried an trusted formation for Saturday’s Conference opener at Grimsby as he closed in on signing another star wingman.
The manager confirmed that full-backs Shaun Beeley, Junior Brown and Paul Edwards, and wingers Sean Clancy and Peter Till are all out of action for the foreseeable future, saying: “You can probably write them all off for six to eight weeks.
“It has been horrendous and frustrating to lose so many flair players.”
But Mellon refuses to compromise on his 4-4-2 principles, saying: “We have tried them in threes but it hasn’t quite worked and we needed to get the wide players in.”
And that means that despite beating the rush with an impressive early-summer shopping spree, Mellon has been forced back into the transfer market for three late additions who have taken his tally of close-season recruits to 11 ... with a twelfth possibly on the verge of signing.
Mellon added: “It’s a quite ridiculous situation and we had to act, but it was not panic stuff.
“Hopefully there’s another one to come in the next 24 hours, who will be a very exciting marquee signing.”
The late arrivals so far are left-back Alan Goodall and in recent days winger Stefan Cox and the former Bristol City and Morecambe midfielder Scott Brown, who is as comfortable out wide as in central midfield.
Mellon said: “Scott is a fantastic player. The fans have seen him already in pre-season and he’s our type of player.
“He can play in a number of positions and he gives us flexibility.”
It is a step up in class for Cox, who played with Tooting and Mitcham United in the Ryman League last season, but he had an encouraging first run-out in Town’s final friendly at Kendal on Saturday, following only one training session with his new team-mates.
Mellon sees the pacy Cox as a key cog in the wheel, adding: “Stefan is important for the way we want to play because we have fantastic strikers.”
Having played the first 45 minutes of Saturday’s 2-0 win over Evo-Stik League opposition, Cox said: “My half went well. I kept the ball and we created a lot of chances but didn’t score.”
Cox played on the right wing, having operated on the left in training the previous day, but he said: “I can play on both sides and it doesn’t really matter. I just want to help the team to win games. I’m really looking forward to the season and the lads are great.”
One late signing permitting, Mellon has chosen his XI to start Town’s second Blue Square Bet Premier campaign and plans to field that side in today’s behind-closed-doors friendly.
The manager was reluctant to reveal today’s opponents in his bid to keep this fine-tuning exercise low-key. He added: “We pretty much know the starting side already. We feel that going behind closed doors is the best way to prepare, without everyone watching.”
What Mellon would reveal was that Jamie Milligan is expected to play a part in today’s game with a view to possibly featuring at Grimsby.
The ever-popular midfielder started his pre-season very late after knee surgery but has been involved in Town’s last two friendlies.
Mellon said: “Milli trained hard on Monday and we gave him a breather Tuesday. “He will have some time in the game on Wednesday because he needs it, but he is some way behind.”