SHAUN Beeley’s ankle injury may not be as bad as first feared but that may not mean he will be back in the Fleetwood Town side any sooner than expected.
Latest signing Matt Flynn slotted into Beeley’s right-back role superbly at Grimsby, just two days after signing for the club, and the former Rochdale 22-year-old is expected to start there again as Town’s Highbury campaign begins at home to Darlington this evening (7.45pm).
Preston-based Flynn revealed his whirlwind introduction to the club: “The gaffer first spoke to me on Monday, then I trained for the first time Tuesday, played on Wednesday (in a final warm-up game against Morecambe behind closed doors) and signed on Thursday.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to play for a local club and a massive club like Fleetwood, and hopefully I’ll take it with both hands and help the club to get promoted to where it should be. First I want to cement a place in the side.”
Competition could come sooner than anticipated from Beeley, who suffered ankle ligament and tendon damage in the friendly against Latvian club Jelgava.
Beeley said: “It’s not as bad as we first feared but it might still be four weeks before I’m fully fit. It is a bit disappointing because I felt I was becoming sharper and getting back to how I felt last season.”
As for the new competition for places, the right-back added: “I’d say there are three, four or even five players per position at the moment, so it is going to be very difficult to break into the team. However, I’m confident in my own ability.”
And Beeley could also take heart from manager Micky Mellon’s hint that Flynn could be destined for a midfield role.
The boss told The Gazette: “We have high hopes for Matt and he could give us an extra bit of height. We have good ball players in midfield but we are a bit small there. Matt is 6ft 1” and very talented too.”
In the opposite full-back berth, Mellon sprang a surprise at Grimsby by naming Paul Edwards, one of the five widemen he had previously ruled out because of an ankle problem.
“Paul hadn’t been training but he has such experience we thought it was worth the gamble. He gave us a good hour and we’ll monitor him today to see if he’s ready to go again against Darlington.”
Mellon promises no more shock comebacks tonight, though said that Jamie Milligan is training very hard to force his way into the manager’s plans.
“There was no point him travelling to Grimsby because he is still not match-fit, but he has had more tough sessions and he’s catching up.”
Town go into tonight’s game with spirits soaring after the opening-day victory at Blundell Park, but Mellon warned: “We are full of confidence after a great start, but it’s only great if we build on it. This will be another tough game but it should be a big crowd and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Darlington also made a winning start but had to wait until the 83rd minute for striker Liam Hatch to break newly promoted Braintree’s resistance.
Mellon added: “it’s a tough division and you can’t take any game for granted. If you drop your guard you’ll get a punch on the nose.”
Shaun Beeley was talking to Michael Woods