Joey Barton says midfielder Bobby Grant will train with Fleetwood Town’s Under-18s and not with the first team for the foreseeable future.
Grant, 28, has not featured in the matchday squad for the past four games since coming off the bench at Southend United on September 22.
He is not injured but had a disagreement with Barton over team selection ahead of the home defeat by Barnsley.
Since starting the opening two games of the season against AFC Wimbledon and Oxford in Barton’s midfield, Grant (right) has found minutes hard to come by. He has since managed only two substitute appearances in League One.
Barton says Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy tie with Rochdale would have been a perfect chance for Grant to press his case.
And he hopes the midfielder puts himself back in contention for the final Checkatrade game at Bury on November 13.
Head coach Barton said: “Everyone knows the situation – Bobs is no longer with the group. He has decided for whatever reason that he is different and wants to behave differently. That is not what is happening for us at Fleetwood Town.
“He has an opportunity to earn his way back into the group, but at the moment he is outside of that and we are focusing on players who are going to make an impact for us.
“He would have got minutes against Rochdale and could have given himself an opportunity to get in the first-team.
“We have one more Checkatrade game in a month or so and hopefully he puts himself back in contention for that.”
Plenty of senior players did start against Rochdale but Barton was not satisfied with the desire shown.
He said: “I think the most worrying thing for some of our boys is that they should not be looking at the first XI because they are some way off that. They should be looking over their shoulders at this next group of young players: Rydel, Hill, Boyle, Clarke, who will be pushing them hard.
“Like I said when I came in, I don’t care how old you are. If you show the desire nd commitment to develop and work for the causem then you will get opportunities.
“A few of the young players are really pushing the senior lads hard for positions because you know they will give you everything if they get on the pitch.
“I can live with players making mistakes and having off-days but you can’t lack desire. I think a few of them need to assess if they want to be footballers. Once you get on that slippery slope you will be playing non-league before you know it.”
He added: “You look at the flip side of that we have Ryan Taylor and Ross Wallace in who have had fantastic careers and were struggling to get a club in the summer because the game quickly forgets you.
“I don’t know what some of our boys who have not had anywhere near the careers that those senior boys have had.
“Because if the game can forget players like them and Wes Hoolahan, who was in with us for a period then I don’t know what it will do for some of the lads.
“They need to be very careful to protect, playing for Fleetwood Town is a really good club, a really good owner, a great football pitch, great facilities, they get fed, everything you could ever imagine to be a player and fulfil your potential.
“The most disappointing thing for me is that they let the fans down.
“They let their families down, the fans down, themselves down.
“You can’t turn up and play like that.
“It is not acceptable.”