Fleetwood defender Ash, 26, grows into elder statesman role

Fleetwood Town's Ashley Eastham
Fleetwood Town's Ashley Eastham

You wouldn’t expect to be the oldest player in the squad at 26 but Ash Eastham is relishing his senior role at Fleetwood as he bids to pass on his knowledge to Town’s young guns.

Town have the youngest squad in League One and Eastham was the oldest player in a red and white shirt for Town’s 3-2 win over Bury last week.

Skipper Nathan Pond, 32, returned to the back line alongside Eastham for the 4-1 defeat at Portsmouth last weekend.

But Eastham says he, 25-year-old Cian Bolger and Bobby Grant, 27 are relishing their leadership roles and want to be role models to Town’s young stars.

He said: “It felt strange being the oldest in the side at 26 but I enjoy the responsibility.

“The gaffer (Uwe Rosler) puts a big responsibility on the four or five of us who are the experienced lads.

“Although we feel young ourselves, the younger lads have to look up to us and we have to be leaders. We have got to be role models and show what it means to wear the badge.

“I enjoy helping the younger lads in my position, like Harvey Rodgers and others who are coming in like I was a few years back. You have to learn fast because it is a ruthless game. It is satisfying to give as much information as you can to help these lads carve out a career in this game.”

Eastham has operated on the left and right of Town’s back three and says he does not mind where he plays, though he is sure there is a lot to come from the latest addition to the back line, loanee Baily Cargill form Bournemouth.

Eastham added: “I don’t mind playing either side – you have to be versatile in a back three.

“Baily has been fantastic and has got a hell of a left foot on him. You can tell he has that Premier League quality.

“He is learning game by game how to play this system. He has been used to playing in a back four, so it’s not easy but I’m sure he is going to be extremely good for us.”