IF any members of Fleetwood Town’s squad are worried about not playing a part in the club’s exciting promotion quest, they need only look at the turnaround in Peter Cavanagh’s fortunes to inspire them.
And ahead of tomorrow’s testing trip to Forest Green Rovers, manager Micky Mellon cited the 31-year-old as an example to all his clubmates.
Having struggled to establish himself in the first team ever since his arrival at Highbury 18 months ago, Cavanagh was seen mainly as a full-back filling in for injured team-mates. But in the past two months the Liverpudlian has become a regular in an unlikely midfield role.
Skipper Steve McNulty hailed Cavanagh’s new lease of life, saying: “He’s been a great squad player last season, and he’s waited patiently this season to get his chance.
“He’s captained Accrington Stanley, so his experience is second to none.
“If you come and watch him in training he’s like a big kid. It’s like he’s the youngest lad on the training ground. He’s great to have around the dressing room, he keeps people in their places and he’s like a captain off the pitch as well.”
Mellon said: “Cav is an example to everyone that the door is always open. I always knew he was a good footballer and we looked in pre-season at developing him as a midfielder. He has gained that match sharpness and we are delighted with him.
“But he has to stay on his toes because he knows there are other players champing at the bit for his place.
“I have never dropped anyone who has played well, because if you come in and play like Cav has you would expect to play next week.”
Another player who will take great heart from that statement is Magno Vieira, who seized his starting opportunity against Braintree on Tuesday, scoring twice in the 3-1 win which sent Town top of the Conference.
Mellon said: “We always knew Magno was a good player. He has had problems with injuries this season and the team had done well without him.
“But he is a good pro and not a whinger. He always knew that an opportunity would come because that is what our squad is all about, and he has taken it.”
The Brazilian’s midweek goals enabled Town to finally snatch the initiative from Wrexham in the Blue Square Bet Premier title race.
The only worry on Tuesday was that Wrexham’s first defeat since September was inflicted by a Forest Green side who host Town tomorrow, having already held Mellon’s men to a goalless draw at Highbury in October.
The manager added: “We may have the initiative now but the challenge is simply to keep winning games. We are not using Wrexham as a marker.
“We are just trying to control what we do and that will continue that until the end of the season. We will keep our heads down and stay focused. And today all we need to concentrate on is Forest Green.
“They got a good result on Tuesday and we know we have to prepare properly. Dave Hockaday always has his sides well organised and tomorrow will be tough.
“They didn’t really come up here to beat us last time. They came not to be beaten and tomorrow may be different. I don’t know their objectives.”
Town’s objective is simply to win promotion, and that aim was boosted this week when chairman Andy Pilley confirmed Mellon can rely on the services of Jamie Vardy for the rest of the season.
Even if the 21-goal striker is sold before Tuesday’s transfer deadline, the chairman confirmed he would insist on Vardy being loaned back until this campaign is over.
This came as no surprise to Mellon, who said: “I always thought that would happen and I have always said it would.
“I was always assured that Vardy was brought here to get us into the Football League and that has not changed. We will have a right good go at doing that and we will look at different options in the summer.”
Shaun Beeley’s groin is Town’s only fresh injury concern ahead of tomorrow’s 3pm kick-off.