Striker Jon Parkin notched his third goal in three games after making his first Town start since November, but he was substituted shortly before the interval after only just returning from a troubleso
By Liz Owen
Striker Jon Parkin notched his third goal in three games after making his first Town start since November, but he was substituted shortly before the interval after only just returning from a troublesome hamstring injury.
“We don’t know [about the injury] yet. I just saw him look to the bench and I know that he felt something but nothing major, so we’re going to have to assess that at the moment.
“Three goals in three games show he can be a big player for us, but we’ve also got Michel who can come on and offer that physical presence and hold up play, and we’ve got other good supporting strikers as well at the club.
“If Parky isn’t fit enough to take place in the next game or games after that, then we’ve got players who will get an opportunity and hopefully they’ll take it.”
His replacement, Jean-Michel Fontaine, made his debut after signing for the club after signing during the January transfer window.
The 24-year-old – who was born in Réunion, a French island east of Madagascar – impressed on his first appearance in a Town shirt and even found the back of the net, but his header was ruled out for a push on Gulls defender Brian Saah.
“Michel played in a reserve game and trained for a couple of days, and we saw enough in that short period to show that he could be an effective player for us,” said Alexander.
“I’m pleased we managed to get his signing through, there was a lot of red tape and so forth because of where he’s from but we were desperate to get him registered for today because we knew he would have some part to play.
“With Parky, who isn’t up to full match fitness, starting the game, we had a ready-made replacement. I thought Michel did really well and I thought he deserved a goal.”
As he doesn’t speak English, Fontaine relies on Frenchman Youl Mawéné as a makeshift translator, but Alexander feels that the language barrier doesn’t present too much of a problem for the striker.
“We speak to Youl and he speaks to Michel – Mozzy speaks a bit of French as well. To be fair to Michel we don’t have to explain too many things to him. We just work on certain movements in training and he takes it on board straight away – he’s really good like that.
“He’s obviously got a decent football pedigree and understanding of the game, so it’s something we’ll overcome. I’m sure Michel will pick up a few choice English words along the way anyway!”
Town picked up their 14th clean sheet of the season at Plainmoor – the highest amount in League Two so far – and Alexander praised goalkeeper Scott Davies for his role at the back.
“That’s what Scott’s there for, to make saves. We have some games where we keep clean sheets and he hardly has anything to do, but on the odd occasion when we have to use him he’s there.
“He’s a very good ‘keeper because he works his socks off day in, day out with Dave Lucas. He’s got a great work ethic and he gets the rewards – that’s the only way to get rewards in football, by putting the hard work in.
“But he’s ably supported by the whole team to be fair, stopping crosses and stopping shots, but when they do get through we know we’ve got a very good goalkeeper and very good back-up as well.”
Fleetwood remain outside the play-off spots but are separated only on goal difference from seventh-placed Southend United, although Alexander admits that he does not focus on league positioning at this stage.
“I haven’t seen where we are in the table and it’s not really a concern for me. What concerns me is that we’ve got another three points on our tally.
“We’ll go and prepare well tomorrow [Sunday], recover right and train on Monday. There’ll be another long journey to Oxford but we’ll be as professional as we can and go there looking for three points, as we do in every game we play.”