Pressley gives Hunter freedom of Town

Ash Hunter
Ash Hunter

Fleetwood boss Steven Pressley won’t try to stifle Ash Hunter’s creativity as he tries to up Fleetwood’s goal count.

Hunter has scored two goals in three games for Town helping haul them out of the bottom four in League One.

Pressley is pleased to have found a player with the magic touch in front of goal after a lean spell for his side.

And he insists he won’t hold back Hunter’s enthusiasm.

The Fleetwood boss believes the young forward, who signed from non-league Ilkeston 12-months-ago, is a player who relies on instinct.

He said: “I’m pleased with young Ashley Hunter.

“I’ve played him a number of times off the sides but his most natural position is down the middle.

“He’s not a player that I feel is the type of player who responds well to coaching.

“He’s a player who you have to make things very simple for.

“You have to allow him to play with a degree of freedom.

“He’s a very instinctive player and he’s proved that over the past few games.”

Saturday’s victory over Bury was something of a coming of age for Hunter who has proved his worth as an impact player off the bench but has failed to convince when starting.

Pressley chose to play the 20-year-old down the middle, flanked by Jamie Proctor and Bobby Grant.

It was a decision which paid off, Hunter menacing the Shakers in the first half and breaking the deadlock four minutes after the break.

Pressley picked the three players with the strongest goal return for his starting eleven and was delighted with the outcome.

“It was a really important game for Ash,” he said.

“My option was to play Proctor through the middle and Ash down the side.

“But I think we had both players in their best positions and it reflected in the game.

“Ash just had simplistic out of possession instructions and very little when he had the ball.

“He needs to play with

freedom. His goal was just what Ash is - he took advantage of a misunderstanding at the back and got on to it.

“That’s just what he does.”

Hunter, Proctor and Grant are likely to keep their places when Fleetwood travel to Oakwell in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Saturday.

David Henen has extended his loan spell but is likely to remain with Everton until at least next weekend as he is treated for an ankle injury.

Tariqe Fosu is understood to have returned to Reading following the end of his loan spell with Fleetwood while David Ball is likely to be sidelined for more than a month with a hamstring injury.

Pressley is urging Fleetwood’s fans to travel in numbers and take advantage of a £5 advance ticket offer from Barnsley.

He’s hoping to see a large away following with Fleetwood just 180 minutes away from a Wembley final.

Pressley said: “It’s obviously a very costly time of year for everybody after the festive period, but we’ve been really encouraged by the numbers we’ve had at home.

“We’d urge them all to try and get behind the players at Barnsley this Saturday as it’d be a terrific boost for everybody if we arrived there and saw a really good backing.

“The group in general are very confident at this moment in time and are all certainly looking forward to the game this weekend.

“It’s a very positive and pleasant distraction from league business as we’re only two games away from playing at Wembley. It’s a massive opportunity for us.

“The draw was obviously kind to us in the respect that the second leg is at home, and we certainly want to give

ourselves the best chance by giving the right kind of performance.

“Nothing will be decided on Saturday but we can certainly put ourselves in a good position with a positive result at Oakwell.”