Barton is not ruling out more changes at the back

Joey Barton has not ruled out fielding a new centre-half combination against Rochdale tomorrow.

Barton has made numerous changes in his opening three games but perhaps the most controversial have been at centre-half.

Fleetwood Town centre-half Cian Bolger

Fleetwood Town centre-half Cian Bolger

Last season’s player of the year Ash Eastham missed the opening day defeat to AFC Wimbledon as new skipper Craig Morgan and Cian Bolger got the nod.

Bolger gained praise from Barton post-match but lost his place to Eastham for the 2-0 win at Oxford.

A new pairing of Bolger and loanee Tommy Spurr took to the field for Tuesday’s League Cup win at Crewe.

Barton says he treats every game as a different battle and said: “We are lucky we have got four really strong players that play in that position.

“Tommy gives that left-footed option if we feel we could move the ball a bit quicker on that side, but then I thought Ash Eastham and Morgs were excellent at Oxford. The challenge for us is trying to get that best combination and that might differ from game to game.

“A lot of it can depend on the opposition and what their strengths and weaknesses are.”

Rochdale so have a 4-1 defeat to Peterborough sandwiched between wins over Burton and Grimsby in League and cup.

Barton added: “It will be another tough day because Rochdale are a good side. They have a back three – back five at times – so we are probably going to have to be patient, stick to our processes to try and win.

“You would expect them to make it difficult for us because Keith is a good manager, a wily old fox who knows what he is doing.

“It will not be a walk in the park for us, so we have got to be disciplined and stick to what we do really well.

“If we do what we can, we are confident we can get the required result.

“The most disappointing thing about the Wimbledon game is that we were really poor and it was still a 50/50 tie. We have got to be much better.”