Fleetwood boss Simon Grayson says season looks to be over for Charlie Mulgrew
Defender Charlie Mulgrew looks to have played his final game for Fleetwood Town.
The Blackburn Rovers loanee has missed the last six games with an Achilles injury which is expected to keep him out of action for the rest of the season.
Centre-back Mulgrew has also been forced to apologise after being filmed breaching Covid restrictions at a house party in his native Scotland.
Mulgrew, who turned 35 this month, joined Fleetwood in October on a season-long loan and has made 23 appearances.
He was a first-team regular until being laid low by coronavirus last month.
Mulgrew returned two weeks later for the 1-1 draw with Accrington Stanley, in which he suffered the injury.
Asked about Mulgrew, Grayson said: “I think Charlie is going to be out for the season with his Achilles.”
Scotland’s Daily Record newspaper published a video showing Mulgrew partying at a friend’s home near Glasgow eight days ago.
Mulgrew, a former Celtic player who won 44 Scotland caps, released a statement to the Record which reads: “After the lockdown was relaxed I was invited round to my mate’s house for a few drinks in his garden as he has a bar in his shed.
“I thought that was absolutely in accordance with the government’s guidance.
“We had a few beers but more people started to turn up than I had expected.
“There were about eight of us in the end and when the numbers started to build I should have gone up the road.
“But I chose to stay and watch the Old Firm game and that was a massive error of judgment.”
Although Mulgrew is now unlikely to return, Fleetwood could welcome back midfielder Glenn Whelan before the end of the season.
Whelan, 37, also has an Achilles injury which has kept the Irishman out of action since January and Grayson said: “Glenn is making progress but it’s still going to be a few more weeks yet because you have to be very careful with those injuries.”
But Grayson says it is players currently fit enough to play rather than those nursing injuries who will have benefited most from Town’s weekend off.
Burton Albion’s international call-ups resulted in Saturday’s fixture being put back a month, leaving Fleetwood with a welcome 12-day break between games.
After four weeks of Saturday-Tuesday fixtures and consistent team selection, Grayson admitted his players were feeling the effects.
That was evident in the 2-0 home defeat by struggling Swindon Town last time out and the head coach said: “The break is more about the lads who have played the majority of the games, the majority of the minutes over the last three or four weeks.
“They need to freshen up a little bit. The lads who took knocks on Tuesday and came through training to play on the Saturday can now rest up ready for the next time we play.
“When a group of players are getting seven or eight out of 10 you have a good chance of winning games, but when you are getting fives or sixes, like we were against Swindon, it makes it very difficult to win games.
“That was probably due to the intensity we’ve played at recently and we couldn’t pick it up again in the last game.
“I think the players tried – I’m not questioning that whatsoever – we just didn’t have that sharpness and zip about us we had against Ipswich, Gillingham and the other teams we’ve played in this run.”
Town return to action on Good Friday at home to second-placed Peterborough United, who bounced back from defeat at Blackpool to hammer Accrington Stanley 7-0 on Saturday.
Town remain 15th in League One after their inactive weekend. They are 14 points clear of the bottom four but just seven points off the top six.
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