JAMIE Milligan is hoping to make his first start of the season for Fleetwood Town at home to Hayes and Yeading tomorrow.
Both midfielder Anthony Barry and striker Andy Mangan were forced off injured in Tuesday’s goalless draw with Darlington, though neither has been ruled out of tomorrow’s match.
Assistant boss Craig Madden told The Gazette: “Neither has trained since the last match but they both have a chance.”
Barry left Highbury on crutches in midweek with what looked like an ankle injury but Madden added: “The problem could be his kneecap. It’s an old injury which has flared up again.”
“Andy has tweaked the hamstring and it’s been scanned, so we are waiting on the results.
“If they don’t make it we have the cover, which is why we made the number of signings we did.
“With Anthony and Andy, we had 10 who couldn’t train Thursday. Some of them are on the way back, but Shaun Beeley, Junior Brown and Nathan Pond will be out for quite a while yet.”
One player raring to make his first appearance of the campaign is Milligan, who has shown great determination to catch up in the fitness stakes after missing much of the pre-season recuperating from a knee operation.
Madden said: “Jamie has done well in training and has worked hard. He wanted to play for the reserves on Thursday but we pulled him out. He’ll be in the equation to start against Hayes.”
So will Paul Edwards, who surprised everyone by starting the opener at Grimsby but was omitted in midweek.
“We have to take it day by day with Paul’s knee,” said Madden, “but he’s had a rest and could play this weekend.”
Injuries or not, new signing Scott Brown says he wouldn’t be surprised to see changes made anyway.
The midfielder said: “There’s a big selection of players who can do a really good job for the team. We can’t expect people to stay on the bench if we are not winning games, so if the gaffer changes it it’s only for the good of the team to get three points.”
Brown certainly hopes to keep his place for a second competitive match on a Highbury pitch he relished playing on against the Quakers.
“It’s the best in this league certainly, and probably in the league above,” he said. “It’s like a carpet and hopefully we’ll play a lot better on it.”
Reflecting on Tuesday’s stalemate with Darlington, Madden said: “It’s not every game in which you face a squad full of 6ft players, and it was a good game which could have gone either way.
“Looking at it again on DVD, their keeper has made a couple of excellent saves but that was a game we might have lost last season.”
And the DVD hasn’t altered his view on the penalty denied Richard Brodie late on.
“Maybe Brodie’s name works against him and refs look for things they wouldn’t with another player. Maybe the ref thought he was feigning but I have looked at it 15 times and it looks a nailed on penalty.”
As for tomorrow’s opponents, Micky Mellon’s right hand man said: “They played well up here and it was close down there too. They have made quite a few signings and it will be tough, but we go there in good spirits.”
Hayes and Yeading held Town 1-1 at Highbury last term and put up a fight down south before losing 2-1, though Town scorers that day, Brown and Pond, are out of the reckoning for tomorrow.
Those new signings include the freescoring former Eastbourne marksman Richard Pacquette, along with highly-rated Reading youth midfielder Harrison Bayley and three former Football League players in Louis Soares (ex-Southend), Mark Bentley (ex-Gillingham) and Nathan Elder (ex-Shrewsbury).
Based at Woking this year, Hayes have had a mixed start which saw Tuesday’s 4-0 defeat by Newport follow a 3-1 win over newly promoted Alfreton on the opening day, when former Town winger Jamie Mullan scored the consolation.