Trio's return a boost for injury-hit Pressley
Fleetwood Town boss Steven Pressley is set to be boosted by the return of key players for Saturday's trip to Swindon Town.
Top scorer Bobby Grant’s three-match ban is up, while striker Wes Burns (Wales U21) and right-back Conor McLauglin (Northern Ireland) have returned from international duty.
On-loan Everton striker David Henen returned to the starting 11 after injury for Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Chesterfield, where talismanic skipper Nathan Pond was on the bench.
Centre-back Pond sat out most of the past two months with a thigh injury and Pressley says he is in contention to face Swindon.
The Town boss was forced to make changes at the Proact Stadium due to Burns and McLaughlin’s absence and injuries picked up in the previous weekend’s home defeat by Highbury.
Striker Shola Ameobi hurt his hamstring against the Tykes and centre-back Joe Davis went over on his ankle in the same game.
Ameobi will definitely miss the Swindon game but Davis and Antoni Sarcevic (thigh) could return.
Pressley said of the injury situation: “Nathan trained last Friday for the first time in some time. He did not train on Monday but he is certainly in contention.
“Joe Davis had a recurrence of an ankle injury. He went over on it during the Barnsley game and played 20 minutes that day with a problem.
“Shola is still out with a hamstring problem. He certainly will not be in consideration for Saturday.
“Sarcevic travelled with the team on Saturday but he has not trained so far this week.
“We will see over the next day or two how he is. We are monitoring him day by day.
“We are still missing (on-loan Sheffield United defender) Bob Harris due to a toe problem and there are one or two other players we just have to be careful with.”
But Bobby Grant has served his suspension after being dismissed for violent conduct just seconds after coming off the bench at Burton earlier this month.
He returns to the first-team squad in fine form after hitting the net five times in two games for Barry Nicholson’s development squad.
Grant scored a hat-trick in their 4-2 win over Rochdale and netted twice in the 3-3 draw with Carlisle United on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old former Blackpool and Rochdale player has scored eight times for Town this term, and Pressley was pleased with his performance in midweek.
The Town boss said: “I watch each of the development games and in both Bobby has been excellent.
“He did a full 90 minutes against Rochdale and 60 against Carlisle.
“Bobby is our leading scorer and his attitude in the development squad has been excellent.”
The relegation scrap tightened up over Easter, with just two points separating Chesterfield in 18th and Oldham in 21st. Town are above the Latics on goal difference and Pressley says they are working hard for another crunch match on Saturday.
He said: “The group are in very good spirits. This week we have been working hard in training to improve certain aspects.
“We have changed the system a couple of times over the last few games, from a 4-3-3 to a 4-3-1-2, and then we changed it at the weekend to a 4-2-1-3.
“The most important thing is that in the final third we try to make things happen and have a greater intent in the box.”
n Fleetwood’s pre-season this summer will include a week in the Netherlands.
Town will be based in Doorwerth, a village in the east of the country, from July 17-23 and will play three matches during their stay.
Two fixtures against Dutch clubs have been finalised and Town are in talks to face a high-profile European side in the other game.
They will play Fortuna Sittard at their Offermans Joosten Stadion in Sittard on Tuesday 19 (7pm) and then Roda JC Kerkrade in Groesbeck on Saturday 23. That 1pm game will be played at the home of the De Treffers club.
The other fixture is likely to be on Wednesday 20 or Thursday 21.