TOWN defender Kieran Charnock’s spell on loan at Fleetwood has come to a premature end.
He was sent off in the 1-0 win at Newport County on Saturday – so not only will he miss tonight’s clash at Hayes and Yeading, but it means he will not be able to see out the remainder of his loan spell from League Two neighbours Morecambe.
However, Mellon, looking at the position long term, is trying to remedy the situation and is having discussions about extending Charnock’s loan in the New Year.
Quite apart from the red card at Newport, Charnock would have struggled to be fit for the Hayes match tonight, as he required nine stitches in his shin after the challenge after which he was sent off.
Manager Micky Mellon is disappointed to be without Charnock and that his loan has come to an end in such circumstances.
He said: “Charnock has been fantastic since he came here – he was really enjoying his football with us and he can play in a number of positions.
“That is his loan period up now, but we are speaking to Morecambe to see if he can extend his loan and we have been talking to Jim Bentley, the Morecambe manager.”
Asked if he would like to keep Charnock at Highbury permanently, the Fleetwood boss said: “I don’t want to race ahead of ourselves, but I will need to speak to Jim to see what their plans for him are. But I would like to keep hin.”
Fleetwood have a ready-made replacement for Charnock in club skipper Stephen McNulty, who is now clear to play after a one-match ban saw him miss the Newport match. Fleetwood have had disappointing news regarding another central defender in Paul Linwood, who will need a second operation on the same knee.
Mellon refused to speculate on the length of time Linwood could expect to be sidelined, except for the fact that it would be for the ‘foreseeable future’.
Another central defender Rob Atkinson is already out of action long term after suffering a broken ankle.
Fleetwood are again on their travels tonight with a trip to Hayes – this follows on from the long journey down to South Wales for the win over Newport, preceded earlier in the week by the famous FA Cup win at Yeovil.
It means plenty of miles on the clock for the Fleetwood players.
But there will be no bigger incentive for them tonight, as they have a game in hand on Wrexham and would draw level on points with the Blue Square Bet Premier leaders with a win.
The Hayes match follows the Newport win on a dreadful pitch, the deadline being broken by a Peter Cavanagh strike in the second half.
Reflecting on the Newport result, Mellon could not praise his side too highly.
He said: “Without a word of exaggeration, it was one of the worst pitches I have experienced since I have been a manager at Fleetwood.
“It was that bad – like something you would see from football in the 1940s, but it was a top-class performance by my players all over the pitch.
“It was always going to take a totally professional performance and that is what I got.”
Hayes and Yeading drew 1-1 with Barrow on Saturday in front of a crowd of just over 300, which is a far cry from what Fleetwood can expect from their festive derby matches with Southport, and even more so than the FA Cup tie with Blackpool in the New Year.
But Mellon will afford Hayes maximum respect, for he was hugely impressed with the Londoners approach the two sides met at Highbury in August.
Fleetwood won on that occasion 1-0, but Mellon conceded: “When Hayes came to Fleetwood earlier in the season, there were times when they passed us off the pitch and they were excellent.
“We have to play much better to get the points and it is another big test for us.”
Jamie Milligan will be sidelined again tomorrow with a knee injury, while striker Richard Brodie is still suspended.
Hayes & Yeading, struggling in 21st place in the Blue Square standings, have recently replenished their ranks in a bid to avert the drop.
Manager Nas Bashir has signed right-back Yassin Moutaouakil, who was released by Charlton Athletic.
The new arrival has represented France at Under-19 and Under-21 levels.
Will Hendry has returned to Hayes following a period with Maidenhead United.
Hendry has also played for Millwall, AFC Wimbledon and Eastleigh.
Another recent recruit is goalkeeper James Beasant, nephew of former England goalkeeper Dave Beasant.
*MELLON was unaware of reports that Crawley, chasing for promotion in their first season in League Two, are trying to sign Fleetwood’s in-demand striker Jamie Vardy.
“I don’t know anything about that – all I know is that he is under contract to Fleetwood,” he said.