Pressley: We’re asking too much of Fleetwood’s players

Steven Pressley
Steven Pressley

Steven Pressley believes the demands on his squad are too great and the manager issued a desperate plea for fresh legs if Fleetwood are to dodge the drop.

Town were without their entire first-choice midfield for Sunday’s 0-0 home draw with Shrewsbury, which preserved the status quo at the wrong end of League One.

And Pressley believes the strain of running such a small and inexperienced squad is starting to tell.

Antoni Sarcevic and Jimmy Ryan are both sidelined with injuries Pressley puts down to their continued high-intensity performances.

They were joined on Sunday by Eggert Jonsson, who picked up a knock in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat to Barnsley.

Things aren’t much better at the back, Town facing a trip to Port Vale this weekend without regular centre-half pairing Nathan Pond and Joe Davis – Stephen Jordan played his first game since September at the weekend.

Pressley said: “I’ve talked over it a number of times in recent weeks – the statistics, the physical data from some of our players has been going through the roof.

“But when you continue to have to turn to the same players week in, week out, day in, day out without having the depth of squad, then this is what happens.

“Our three midfield players missed out on Sunday – two because of, I think, over-use.

“We’ve been very careful on the training ground not to work them too hard in recent weeks.”

Fleetwood struggled to bring in fresh legs during the transfer window, adding Devante Cole and Chelsea loanee Alex Kiwomya up front, but losing Jamie Proctor, who joined Bradford City as part of the Cole deal.

The only addition at the back came last week, with the arrival of Swedish centre-half Marcus Nilsson.

His first competitive football since November came on Sunday, when he replaced Pond in the closing stages.

And Pressley is desperate for more, having played a right-back and a striker in central midfield at the weekend.

“We need a greater depth to the group, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “We’ve had to keep turning to the same players.

“Nathan, ideally, wouldn’t have played the three games in the nine days.

“But we’re in the situation where we have to play him because Marcus Nilsson isn’t match-fit.”

The transfer market has reopened for loan signings and Pressley will stress to his paymasters the desperate need for fresh bodies.

He said: “We’ve got to do something, we’ve just got to do.

“ We’ve got to strengthen the group because at the moment in time we’re asking too much of the players, especially with the fixtures coming so quickly.”

Whatever happens now is likely to be a short-term fix, Pressley making it clear that the priority has to be to reach the summer without suffering relegation.

He continued: “The summer is going to be a really important period for us.

“But it’s about getting to the summer, about making sure we stay in this league.

“It’s about making the right signings at this time.”