Fleetwood boss boosted by McAleny progress

Fleetwood Town's Conor McAleny competing with Northampton Town's Matt Crooks
Fleetwood Town's Conor McAleny competing with Northampton Town's Matt Crooks

Uwe Rosler says he is ‘happy’ with the progress star striker Conor McAleny is making as he continues his recovery from an ankle knock.

McAleny had a blistering start to his Town career, netting twice in the 2-0 opening- day win over Rotherham at Highbury.

Uwe Rosler and McAleny

Uwe Rosler and McAleny

But a week later the 24-year-old, who joined the club on a free transfer from Everton this summer with a history of injury problems, limped off in the 1-0 win at Northampton.

The forward has not featured since but has been back training on the grass at Town’s Poolfoot Farm base.

Although head coach Rosler was typically coy as to whether McAleny will be fit to feature against Oldham on Saturday, he did hint that the striker may return sooner rather than later.

Rosler said: “Conor makes me happy. He is more and more on the pitch. He does more and more things.

Conor McAleny

Conor McAleny

“I cannot tell you exactly when he will be back but he is definitely heading in the right direction, and each week he does more and more.”

While McAleny has been sidelined, Devante Cole has taken the mantle of Town’s chief goalscorer.

Fleetwood just managed to keep hold of four-goal Cole on transfer deadline day, despite bids from Championship club Sheffield United.

That interest from the Blades meant Cole was left out for Town’s last match, the 3-0 Checkatrade Trophy win over Leicester Under-21s, when fellow strikers Wes Burns and Ash Hunter put their cases forward for a starting spot against the Latics.

Burns’ goal in that game ended his 13-month competitive goal drought.

It was a welcome boost for the 22-year-old Welshman, who was hampered by injury last term and whose last League goal came in a 2-0 win over Peterborough while on loan at Town from Bristol City in April last year.

Rosler added: “You could see in the last two or three games – in development games but also when he came on (for the first team off the bench) – that the momentum starts with Wes.

“He gets more confidence in himself. He finds himself in good positions. He got a goal last week.”

That can only bode well for the striker rotation policy that Rosler used to devastating effect last season, when Fleetwood finished fourth.

Four of Town’s established forwards have got off the mark in the opening month of the new campaign – Burns, McAleny, Cole and Jordy Hiwula.

Yet to hit the target this season are Ash Hunter and Bobby Grant, who has been converted into a midfielder at Fleetwood but has started this season’s first four League One games in attack.