MICKY Mellon hopes Fleetwood Town talisman Jamie Milligan won’t miss out on the vital run-in which may well end with the club in the Football League.
A back problem is the latest blight on an injury-hit season for the Town veteran, who has managed only one appearance since the historic FA Cup clash with his former club Blackpool at the start of the year.
Since Milligan’s last appearance, in the 6-2 win at Ebbsfleet a month ago, the mystery injury has prevented him training.
Mellon would love to have the 32-year-old available for the end-of-season crunch games, but he admits time is running out.
Mellon said: “It doesn’t get any better with Jamie, and we don’t really know what the problem is.
“We hope he will play again this season, because he is an important member of the squad who brings something different to the side.
“But if it is something serious, we need to find out what, because he isn’t doing anything at the moment and is losing fitness. “He picked it up in reserve game and it got worse.”
Town have been grateful to Milligan for some crucial goals in the past, particularly from dead-ball situations, but his scoring contribution has been less vital this year with strikers Andy Mangan and Jamie Vardy in such prolific goalscoring form.
Both bagged a brace in Saturday’s 4-1 victory at Telford to take their individual tallies past the 20 and 30 mark respectively.
Mellon hailed their strike rate, saying: “Fifty goals between two players is an unbelivable return, but they will be the first to say they would not do it without their team-mates. Having said that, we are delighted with their goals.”
Mangan echoed the view that the team should share the credit.
He said: “All the hard work comes from the players behind and around us. We are a good partnership and need each other’s runs, but wouldn’t hit it off without the rest of the lads.’
“The lads are so used to working with each other.
“We will automatically drop into each other’s positions if a team-mate moves upfield. I did it on one occasion on Saturday for Cav.
“The gaffer’s got us well-drilled to play a certain way and we stick to it. You have to work hard to be as good as we are and we certainly work hard.”
Mangan left Wrexham for Town last summer and, as the two clubs gear up for a promotion fight to the finish, the striker is convinced he made the right choice.
He said: “I thought long and hard about my next move and had a number of options.
“You even have doubts once your decision has been made as you don’t know how things will work out.
“I have no doubt now that I made the right decision. I am loving my football, and think that I’m playing the best I’ve played in my career.’
Mangan is quick to pay tribute to Vardy too, adding: “He’s certainly up there with the best players I’ve been alongside, and there have been some good ones elsewhere, and I’m not going to disrespect them by saying that Vards is the best.
“It’s safe to say, though, that I’d have him in my best 11.
As for his double at Telford, Mangan said: “They were both two tap-ins really.
“Vards went down the right and pulled the ball back for the first. I just needed to keep the ball down.
“With the second, I gambled. I realised that the ball was going to hit the bar and reacted quickest, ready for the tap-in. Two goals for me, yes, but the three points for the side were massive.
“I’m 100% certain certain we can go up as we have quality players around the squad, but there’s no doubt that we face seven big games.”
Andy Mangan was talking to DAVID MITCHELL