Steve Eyre says the battle is on to win the available place in Fleetwood Town’s midfield – and the coach explained why experienced duo Dean Marney and Ryan Taylor have not been in contention.
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James Wallace picked up a hamstring injury in the 1-0 win at Bradford City 12 days ago.
The 26-year-old had started nine successive games and had made the holding role in a midfield three his own.
Jack Sowerby started in that spot in Saturday’s home defeat by Luton, having returned from his loan spell at Carlisle, with right-back Lewie Coyle later taking over.
Experienced Marney and Taylor could both occupy that position but were omitted from the match day squad, with Marney not expected to travel for Saturday’s game at Burton Albion.
Eyre explained: “Dean is injured and he has been ill.
“Ryan is struggling with a broken nose from a training-ground game at Wigan Athletic. He made himself available to play last weekend but had missed four days’ training.
“Their experience is vital, be that in a starting position, from the bench or around the training ground.
“While they are still at this football club, registered, fit and available, they have plenty to offer.
“They will be knocking on the door as you would expect and they will do so by behaving correctly with their attitude and training application.
“Be it a young player or senior player, there appears to be an opportunity in the centre of midfield.
“James Wallace held the position down very well before his hamstring strain but we are hoping he gets over that quickly.
“We cannot do anything about recruitment until the summer, so it is a case of up-skilling with the lads we have in-house.
“Everyone is up for the challenge and I think the shirt is available.”
Eyre says young trio Harrison Biggins, Nathan Sheron and Sowerby all have a chance to claim the shirt.
He added: “They have time on their side but in a game you have an hour and a half to get three points for the football club.
“We think a lot of them and we have them contracted for a while.
“But they have to do the maximum with their opportunities, which can be rare at the level we work at.
“They have different qualities, but providing they train correctly the manager will reward that with opportunities to play in his team”.