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McCall looks ahead to Fleetwood encounter

25 January 2019

United manager Stuart McCall is expecting to have a similar squad to choose from when his side make the trip to face Fleetwood Town this weekend.

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25 January 2019

The two teams meet at the Highbury Stadium on Saturday, with the Iron unbeaten in five matches, having won four of those, and the Cod Army going three games without suffering a defeat.

McCall will be looking to build on the performance against Sunderland last weekend, which saw his side claim a late point, and told iFollow Iron: “We’ve had a couple of lads who haven’t trained this week, but that’s just precautionary. Come Saturday we’ll have a very similar squad to choose from to what we’ve had over the last couple of weeks.”

Game time was provided to recent signings Byron Webster, Harrison McGahey, Adam Hammill and Kevin van Veen amongst others in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Middlesbrough on Tuesday, and the 90 minutes those players and some players who have been on the fringes received stands them in good stead ahead of the weekend.

McCall added: “Though the scoreline didn’t look great against a good, strong team, we played some decent stuff in patches. The pleasing thing was a lot of the lads got 90 minutes under their belts, which they needed.

“We had a lot of players out there who haven’t played for a while. It was good for George Hornshaw and Butty (Lewis Butroid) to get 45 minutes each and for Flatty (Jonathan Flatt) to get 80 minutes too. As an exercise, it was good because it was a really competitive game and what they needed.

“Some of the lads did very well, and it was played in a good, competitive manner. That’s what we were wanting.”

He continued: “Training was limited (on Thursday), with the little bit of ice and snow that had fallen, but yet again it was to a good standard and tempo.”

Looking ahead to the clash against Fleetwood this weekend, McCall continued: “They started really well. Every game is difficult and there’s not a lot between the sides. You can go three or four games without a win and likewise you can win three or four on the bounce. They had a good result at AFC Wimbledon the other night, winning 3-0 and watching the game back it could have been four or five. They’re in a good place and have a lot of forward, attacking options.

“We’re well aware of what they’re going to bring and how good they can be. Likewise, we’re on a good run of form with a lot of players playing at the top of their game and feeling good about themselves. It’s another game to look forward to.”

Hammill came on as a substitute to score the equaliser against Sunderland last weekend and McCall said “there is always food for thought” when it comes to possibly changing the team. 

He explained: “We always have a little look and think what we can do better. Just because we’ve settled into a shape at the moment, it doesn’t mean that will be the shape we use for the rest of the season. We’ll always be horses for courses. When we think we can target weaknesses in the opposition, we’ll change the shape to do that. The lads have been playing really well in training and are desperate to be involved in it, which augurs well for the future.”

Speaking about Hammill, who signed from St Mirren specifically three weeks ago, he said: “They had a winter break in Scotland so he hadn’t played for a few weeks. The tempo of training and getting 90 minutes the other day will benefit him. He needed to get up and running, and showed what he can do when he came on against Sunderland. It didn’t actually surprise me that he did that because he has that type of quality. They’re all desperate to be involved and if they’re not starting, we want them to make an impact when they come on as a substitute. Hammy certainly did that.”

See much more from Stuart McCall, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and James Perch on iFollow Iron. Click here to sign up.

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