Fleetwood boss Joey Barton praises recalled Peter Clarke but admits Ash Eastham was unlucky

Joey Barton hailed Peter Clarke on a “superb” return to the Town defence but admitted Ash Eastham was unfortunate to lose his place for the draw with Gillingham.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 6:00 am
Peter Clarke in the thick of the action for Fleetwood against Gillingham

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Fleetwood could be serious contenders says Barton

Head coach Barton said: “Clarkey was superb but Ash Eastham was unlucky.

“I spoke to Ash during the week and it was just that we were going to a back three as opposed to a back four.

“I thought Clarkey in the middle of the back three used his experience, his anticipation his voice and communication. I thought he was outstanding.

“Gillingham are a handful up front and you get a thorough examination.”

And Barton expects more of the same at Rotherham on Saturday, which bodes well for Clarke’s chances of retaining his place.

The Town boss added: We’ll get the same at Rotherham against a big, physical side.

“They have big boys in that team, and we will have to stand up and put heads and bodies on the line to protect our goal against a good side who are chasing promotion.”

Despite his initial disappointment at failing to beat the Gills, Barton admits the point could prove vital.

He added: “It was a point gained because Ipswich lost at home, Coventry lost, Doncaster lost and Portsmouth lost at Accy. This table is wide open. It must be a nightmare for any punter to do a coupon in our league.”