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I'm in best shape ever at Fleetwood says Craig Morgan

Craig Morgan is congratulated on his goal against Southport
Craig Morgan is congratulated on his goal against Southport

He’s just played his first game for more than a year and new Fleetwood Town signing Craig Morgan says he is fitter than ever ahead of the League One season.

READ MORE: What we learned from Fleetwood v Southport
Centre-half Morgan, 33, joined Joey Barton’s squad from promoted Wigan this summer, having not kicked a ball in their League One title-winning campaign.

His last taste of action was in Latics’ 14-0 win over a Chorley XI 12 months ago.

The experienced defender culdn’t forced his way back into Wigan’s side after a hip injury kept him out for much of last season and he has opted to join Town to battle for first- team football.

The Welshman played in Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Southport in a training game at Poolfoot Farm as he bids to stake his claim for a starting spot in the season-opener against AFC Wimbledon on August 4.

A goal on Tuesday will not have done his hopes any harm and Morgan said: “I’ve done all my rehab and am probably in the best shape I have ever been.

“I’m thankful to the people who have helped me with that. As a footballer you want to be playing and it is nice to be back out there.”

The defender teed up Conor McAleny for Fleetwood’s leveller with a sublime defence-splitting pass before getting on the scoresheet himself.

Morgan showed his experience, pouncing in the box after the Southport keeper had spilled to volley home on the stroke of half-time. Joe Maguire added Town’s third from a free-kick.

Morgan said of his goal: “I think the lads are surprised I got my leg up there after my hip ops! I thought I should have been going in for the cross to actually head it but luckily it dropped for me, though I’d prefer it to happen in the season!”

Barton’s squad are in their third week of pre-season training and are preparing to visit National League side Salford City on Friday before flying out to Hungary on Sunday for a week-long tour. The first of two matches there will be against Slovakian club STK Fluminese Samorin next Tuesday.

Morgan added: “It is good to have got a game in so early. Lots of teams are not playing yet but the boys felt all right.

“We have done a good bit of work over the last couple of weeks and the boys look fit.”

There are question marks surrounding the future of Town’s veteran midfielder Toumani Diagouraga, who is contracted for the coming season but did not feature against Southport.

Keeper Alex Cairns, Bobby Grant and new loan signings Lewie Coyle and Tommy Spurr were rested for that match.