Joey Barton and Paddy Madden hope Conor McAleny succeeds at Fleetwood Town

Conor McAleny is back with Fleetwood Town after a loan spell in Scotland
Conor McAleny is back with Fleetwood Town after a loan spell in Scotland

Conor McAleny has had the support of Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton and senior striker Paddy Madden as he bids to earn a starting spot at Peterborough United on Saturday.

The 26-year-old arrived at Highbury in the summer of 2017 from Everton, but after netting twice in an opening-day win over Rotherham United, his spell has been hit by injury problems.

He played 34 times in that 2017-18 season but featured only 19 times under Barton before moving to Kilmarnock on loan.

The forward scored four times but has returned to Town and racked up the minutes in pre-season.

Barton said: “Everyone gets a chance.

“For me it is not about people getting a chance; it is about earning a chance.

“Conor has come back, his attitude has been first class.

“He has been working really hard on his body over the off-season, he’s come back and played the majority of minutes for us in pre-season.

“We just want him to be a bit more confident now.

“His shot that hit the post (at Port Vale) was signs of the Conor Mac we all know.

“He posed a threat at Carlisle, won the penalty for us.

“He came off a little bit earlier because he has a number of minutes and we needed Josh Morris, who had an illness in Portugal, to get those minutes.”

For his part, Madden hailed McAleny’s technical ability and hopes the latter is now in a position to finally put those injury problems behind him.

Madden feels the two are building up a good relationship and can empathise with McAleny’s injury problems given his previous experiences.

His first spell in England was an injury-hit experience with Carlisle United but Madden has backed his team-mate to put his niggles behind him, add to his 53 appearances for the club and show everyone just what he can do.

He said: “Mac is a fantastic player, he has not had the rub of the green.

“I’ve been there myself at Carlisle where I got a few niggles and injuries which set me back.

“The ability Conor Mac has, he is probably, if not the most, technical player at the club.

“When he gets in those pockets he is always dangerous.

“I hope for Mac’s sake he has a good season this year and keeps fit.”