Barton's challenge to Ash Hunter after milestone match at Fleetwood

Ash Hunter
Ash Hunter

Ash Hunter made his 150th Fleetwood Town appearance on Saturday, and if he can produce the same level of performance every week Joey Barton believes he will have a bright future in the game.

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Ash Hunter made his 150th Fleetwood Town appearance on Saturday, and if he can produce the same level of performance every week Joey Barton believes he will have a bright future in the game.

The Town attacker is one of the club’s longest-serving players at the age of 22, having signed from Ilkeston in the summer of 2015. Jack Sowerby, 23, is the longest-serving and arrived a year earlier.

Hunter’s milestone match was Saturday’s 2-0 win at Oxford and head coach Barton wants more of the same as Town head to League Two Crewe in the EFL Cup tonight.

Hunter (right) and Town have never won a tie in this competition and aim to put right this evening (7.45pm).

And after seeing the young paceman display the effort off the ball he has worked on over the summer, Barton hopes to see more of the “exceptional” form he showed at the Kassam Stadium. Barton said: “Off the back of Saturday’s performance, Ash has a hell of a bright future.

“We spoke to Ash and some of the things he could improve on were his contribution for the team without the ball. On Saturday I thought he was exceptional. He contributed hugely to a real positive performance.

“He played the ball through to Wes (Burns) for the penalty, and his general play and work ethic were first-class.

“He has got to continue to do that. He has 150 appearances for the club but I think he needs to really focus on the next game.

“It does not matter what you have done before – football does not owe you anything. It is about what you want to do in the next game, so Ash’s focus is Tuesday night and maintaining that level of performance.

“If you focus on playing at a high level in the next game, then the next and the next, you can have a phenomenal career.

“Ash took that challenge on and showed the level of football he has to produce for a player of his quality.”