Barrie McKay has made an instant impression on Joey Barton, living up to the big build-up he received from the Fleetwood Town boss.
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Barton has repeatedly stated that he could hardly believe the coup his club pulled off by signing the winger on loan from Swansea City on transfer deadline day.
The Scot came off the bench for his debut 10 minutes into the second half at AFC Wimbledon last Saturday and supplied the ball for fellow substitute for Paddy Madden to score Town’s winner.
It’s safe to say that McKay, 25, had lived up to the expectations of the Cod Army boss ahead of last night’s trip to high-flying Wycombe.
Head coach Barton said: “Barrie is outstanding.
“He had only been with us a week and I thought the lads who played against Doncaster (a game Town also won 2-1) deserved to hold on to the starting jerseys.
“We haven’t got a lot of competition for places but we have good quality, so we know we can change things if we want to. Barrie came on and showed real flashes of what a good player he is.
“And on better pitches as we move towards the end of the season, we will see the qualities Barrie possesses.
“The players realise just what a really shrewd addition he is.
“We can’t believe he is in this league but we are absolutely delighted to have him.”
Town matchwinner and 18-goal top-scorer Madden had to wait longer than McKay to come off the bench at Kingsmeadow, though Barton says his squad appreciates that this is a collective effort.
“It’s about contributing to a team performance and Paddy knows we will always seize an opportunity to put him in the game with 20-30 minutes to go because of the fatigue that sets in,” Barton said.
“They think they’ve just got the better of Ched Evans and then they see Paddy Madden and Barrie McKay coming off the bench – you have to think of the psychological effect of that.
“I thought Paddy should have knocked it in first time but I was delighted to see him get it second time.”
Fellow new recruits Callum Connolly and Lewis Gibson, both on loan from Everton, have also wasted no time in impressing their new boss.
Barton added: “It’s good to see two young centre-halves grow and deal with the physicality.
“It was only Lewis Gibson’s second senior game and a lot of ball came down his channel at Wimbledon. I thought he was outstanding.
“If anything he got better as the game wore on, which is great for Everton in the long-term and for ourselves now .”