Town hold talks to keep Charnock

Kieran Charnock scores against Yeovil in the FA Cup replay.

Kieran Charnock scores against Yeovil in the FA Cup replay.

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Fleetwood Town are set to make Kieran Charnock’s move to Highbury permanent after ‘positive’ talks with Morecambe manager Jim Bentley.

Charnock has enjoyed a successful spell on loan with Fleetwood from the Shrimps, and Town boss Micky Mellon is keen to finalise a deal in the new year.

Mellon said: “I have had a positive conversation with Jim Bentley and it is looking like something could happen.

“It is now out of my hands and with the club chief executive and other people involved.

“Charnock is desperate to come and I am desperate to bring him in; his contract with Morecambe is up in the summer.”

Ideally, Charnock would have been involved in the festive showdowns – at home to Southport on Boxing Day and the rapid-fire return fixture at Haig Avenue on New Year’s Day – but his current loan spell has been curtailed due to suspension.

Ironically, he would have struggled to be fit for the Hayes and Yeading match this week because of a gashed shin.

Fleetwood are monitoring the fitness of Nathan Pond in the run-up to the Southport double-header: Pond, who has made a successful switch to the back four, has been nursing a hamstring strain, but it is hoped that rest will be the best cure.

Another central defender, Stephen McNulty, has also been in the wars – he has been playing with a light cast on a broken hand he suffered in the FA Cup win over Yeovil Town.

There is a chance that midfielder and dead-ball specialist Jamie Milligan could return over the festive period after being sidelined of late with a knee injury. The Fleetwood players were having a welcome day-off today after their recent exertions, which saw them have three tough trips to Yeovil, Newport and Hayes and Yeading (all wins).

Mellon said: “We must have clocked up 1,000 miles in travel – at least it feels that way!

“We are just coming off the back of three difficult away games and we have done unbelievably well in winning them all, and it has given me a big problem in picking the team with other clubs coming back into the squad.”

Meantime, leading scorer Jamie Vardy is one booking away from a one-match suspension after picking up four yellow cards.

That was the reasoning behind Vardy being on the bench at Hayes and Yeading on Tuesday night because Mellon did not want to risk him being booked and so miss the Southport fixture on Boxing Day.

However, Mellon decided in the end to bring Vardy off the bench to stimulate Fleetwood’s attacking options at a time when a change of approach to seal the three points was required.

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Mellon says he was not at all taken aback to see the Blackpool manager at the Hayes and Yeading match in midweek.

And he revealed that he had followed many of Holloway’s principles in formulating his own battle-plan to try to get Fleetwood into the Football League.

He said: “I was not surprised to see that Ian was at the Hayes game – it just goes to show the attention he takes, and no doubt we will be offering Blackpool the same respect and watching them before the FA Cup-tie (January 7).

“Ian Holloway has got Blackpool playing in the way I would like Fleetwood to play.

“His teams are very brave – they are always playing on the front foot rather than on the back foot.

“I don’t want this to sound like a Micky Mellon/Ian Holloway love-in, but I have learned a lot from how he approaches the game and how he has changed his ideas about how the game should be played and the way he put them into practice.”

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The Fleetwood boss has a decision to make soon about striker Danny Rowe, who has had a successful spell on loan at Droylsden, so much so that his goal-scoring exploits earned him the Blue Square North player of the month award for November.

Mellon said: “We have to think about whether we bring him back where there are four strikers ahead of him, or for him to get regulargames at a club like Droylsden, which he needs.

“I have a decision to make on that.”

One done deal is that striker George Donnelly, on loan at League Two club Macclesfield, will not be returning to Highbury.