Oxford United know all about Fleetwood’s Conor McAleny but boss Uwe Rosler does not want the striker to put too much pressure on himself as he continues his return against his old club.
The 25-year-old’s blistering loan spell of 10 goals in 14 games for the U’s last season caught Fleetwood’s eye and Rosler swooped to sign him from Everton.
His stop-start Highbury career saw a two-goal debut in the opening-day win over Rotherham followed by an ankle injury at Northampton a week later.
Having returned against Rochdale a fortnight ago, McAleny played an hour in Saturday’s defeat at Shrewsbury and is set for more minutes against his old club.
Rosler said: “He started off with 15 minutes, then 45 minutes, now 60-plus minutes. That is how you bring a player back and we are still training him because that is what he needs. You hope he will get better and better.
“The boy is determined. He should not put himself under too much pressure. We know he is a very good person and a very good player.
“The goals will come and he just needs to give solid performances and build a good platform to push on again.”
Rosler is also managing competition for places in defence, with Cian Bolger back after suspension.
He said: “Sometimes that it is not easy. They are all putting shifts in. There is a level of inconsistency, but they knew that when they are giving a stable performance there is a great chance to play.
“I try to be as fair as I can to give everybody a chance either from the start or coming on, and then it is up to them.
“I am happy with our front players this season I am happy. Conor McAleny has not played a lot. His goals will come.
“The challenge for them is to always keep going. Some of them get a little more playing time at the moment but in December another player may get more playing time.
“I need to make them aware that I am judging the players on training and development squad games and that they have a responsibilty to push and fight for places.”