Mangan’s breakdown stalls comeback hopes

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MICKY Mellon admits Fleetwood Town will have to get to bottom of striker Andy Mangan’s baffling knee injury after the striker broke down again in his comeback game yesterday.

The frontman started and scored for Town in their behind-closed doors friendly against Blackpool at Highbury but limped off soon afterwards.

The 26-year-old had started the season in fine form but has missed Town’s last four League Two matches and will almost certainly be absent again for Saturday’s home clash with struggling AFC Wimbledon.

Mangan, who last played in the goalless draw at Bristol Rovers on September 22, gave Town the lead with a textbook header in yesterday’s reserves fixture only for the neighbours from down the Fylde coast to hit back and win 4-1 with a hat-trick from forgotten man Gerardo Bruna.

Mangan was a 20-goal success story in Town’s promotion campaign after signing from Wrexham and the Liverpudlian had continued in the same vein this season, scoring in the wins over Northampton and Aldershot.

And manager Mellon admits the injury is a cause for concern. He told The Gazette: “We aren’t quite sure what the injury is and we’ve been hoping he’d shake it off but he doesn’t seem able to.

“Each time we think he is over it we give the knee a workout and he seems to have a setback. We need a take a close look at it and really get to the bottom of what the problem is.

“I’m not ruling him out for Saturday yet. We’ll see how the knee settles down in the next couple of days.”

Having beaten Barnet and York without Mangan, Town have taken just one point from their last two games and Mellon admits the former Blackpool trainee has been missed.

“Of course we’ve missed him because he is an important player to us. But we need to break down what the problem is and get him fit as quickly as possible.”

If Mangan is indeed sidelined again as Town bid to bounce back from last Saturday’s defeat by Wycombe, Mellon may well find his options to reshuffle his pack for the visit of the Dons somewhat limited.

Defenders Dean Howell (ankle) and captain Steve McNulty (calf) look unlikely to recover by weekend, meaning former Blackpool favourite Rob Edwards will almost certainly make his second loan appearance at centre-half.

Mellon added: “Dean and Steve are both coming along steadily and making the progress we would expect, but Saturday may be a little too early for both of them.

“We have another game against Chesterfield next Tuesday and it may be that both of them are available for that one.”

Mellon was satisfied with the workout against Blackpool and not at all concerned by the result. “Both clubs wanted the run out and it has helped us both. Certainly we got out of the game what we wanted to.

“There was quite a bit more experience in the Blackpool side. We made a lot of changes in the second half, when there were a lot of youth team players and trialists out there.

“But we have quite a few players who need gametime in matches like this, so it will have done them good.”