AFC Fylde new boy is a timely replacement as midfielder faces a lengthy absence
AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor has revealed midfielder Lewis Montrose is facing an extended spell on the sidelines after again fracturing his foot in Saturday’s win over Wrexham, though the Coasters have brought in an immediate replacement with the signing of Tom Crawford.
The 19-year-old has joined the club on loan from League Two Notts County for the rest of the son
The highly-rated teenager joined the Magpies in the summer after leaving Chester and scored on his debut in the Carabao Cup defeat at Middlesbrough. He has made six senior appearances for County.
Montrose missed the first four months of the season as he recovered from a metatarsal injury.
The 30-year-old has managed only five appearances this season and started last weekend, but Challinor revealed the central midfielder has suffered another fracture of the foot.
The Fylde boss said: “He has recently come back from a stress reaction of his metatarsal which had kept him out all season.
“The specialist didn’t want to operate as the bone had virtually healed, so in those cases they will allow them to get on with it and get back playing.
“But once there has been a stress fracture or stress reaction, you always run the risk of it breaking again.
“As he’s gone to land his foot to attempt a shot in the first half on Saturday, he’s felt something in his foot.
“We had it x-rayed on Saturday night and that confirmed it’s fractured. He didn’t know, despite being in some discomfort. Credit to him because he wanted to struggle through.
“We will get him operated on as soon as possible and we’re hoping he will be back for the latter part of the season.
“You’re looking at six to seven weeks for recovery, although we could be told different by the specialist.”
Fylde wanted to sign Crawford last summer, after he had made 17 National League appearances for hometown club Chester.
Challinor said: “Tom has got a good pedigree. He knows the league and he did well in a struggling Chester team last year.
“He’s one we were interested in during the summer but he got his move to the Football League.
“It’s probably not panned out as he would have hoped. They’re obviously struggling a little bit but for us to get him in is a good one for us.
“We needed to bring bodies in, especially in the midfield area. That was compounded by losing Lewis. We might even need another one in that area.
“There had been dialogue with Notts County over the last few weeks around Tom.
“It hadn’t happened previous to our last FA Trophy game but we’ve managed to get it done now.”
Crawford said: “I had a good start at County but was in and out of the team, picked up an injury and then had a change of manager – it’s just the way football is (Neal Ardley is County’s third boss this season). For myself personally, to get games and minutes is needed.
“And for me to come to a club like Fylde is a great opportunity for me.”
Crawford will wear the number 11 shirt and is available for tomorrow’s trip to second-placed Solihull Moors.