Fleetwood boss waits on injured stars

Graham Alexander
Graham Alexander

Graham Alexander admits he’s sweating over a number of first-team stars ahead of Saturday’s trip to Wigan.

But he made clear nobody will play on derby day at the DW unless they are 100 per cent fit.

Eggert Jonsson missed last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Bradford.

And a number of other players are a concern for Town ahead of the short trip south.

Alexander declined to name those battling for fitness but revealed decisions on several players will be left until the last minute.

“There’s a couple of boys we won’t know about until Friday,” he told The Gazette. “That’s the truth.

“We’ve got our expectations of a couple of them but we’ve been wrong on those before, so we won’t take anything for granted.

“We’ll just keep our fingers crossed that they are fit enough to play.”

Having admitted earlier this week that he rushed Jonsson back into the side “too soon”, Alexander made it clear he won’t field any player not match fit.

He said: “We won’t play players at 80 per cent because we know they are going to do more damage, plus they are going to let the team down.

“I’d rather have 11 fit players who can do 95 minutes than play lads who are only half-fit. That’s a recipe for getting beaten.”

Town’s small squad means any injuries have to be carefully managed.

That in itself can cause issues for the Town boss, who is keen to get as much training time as possible with his young squad.

He said: “It does impact on how we prepare, especially when you’re working on stuff you want your team to do – the defensive side as well as the attacking side.

“We always include all our players in every session to make sure they all know their jobs.

“But if you know somebody is pretty much going to play on a Saturday but they can’t train at the start of the week, it does hamper what you can prepare.

“These are just little things that test you out from time to time.

“We don’t over-emphasise things. You’ve just got to keep a calm head and get the lads in the best prepared state possible.”

But Alexander made it clear he’d rather see his players reporting for treatment that come off the pitch having not given everything for the team

“We have got a few at the moment who are nursing things,” he said. “It’s part and parcel of football.

“If we’re not getting little knocks and injuries we’re not competing hard enough. That’s not acceptable.

“The boys are doing their best managing themselves but we want to get them out on the pitch and training as often as possible.

“It’s OK doing it for one or two weeks but after that it starts to affect your performance. That’s been the case with one or two of the lads.

“We have to try to get them back to full fitness as soon as possible.”