Chris Long still training with U18 squad and Gethin Jones back in Fleetwood Town's first team fold but boss Barton expects both to leave

Gethin Jones
Gethin Jones

Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton expects Chris Long and Gethin Jones to leave the club next month.

Both featured in the development squad's 3-2 defeat at Macclesfield Town in midweek.

Long is still training with Simon Wiles' U18 side while Jones is back with the senior set-up but Barton feels that both, along with Wrexham loanee Bobby Grant, do not have a Highbury future.

Barton said: "If I'm honest, the future for them (Jones and Long) is away from this football club should they and their agents manage to secure moves for them.

"I don't see how they would be involved going forward.

"It is better for their personal careers to play football.

"There is no point playing development squad games if you are Gethin because he is beyond that.

"When he was at Everton he went on-loan to Barnsley in the Championship.

"The key is to resolve any issues as early as we can in January to let those lads crack on with their careers and free up resources for us to use on people or players that we feel can benefit us whether that is promoting someone from our own academy structure or someone we bring in from outside of it."

Another player whose future is up in the air is Cian Bolger, who was the subject of rumoured interest from Hibernian in the summer.

The 26-year-old has made 16 appearances under Barton, having been a regular starter under Uwe Rosler and John Sheridan.

However, with his deal set to expire in the summer, Town do not want a repeat of the summer of 2017 when they lost the out-of-contract Jimmy Ryan, David Ball and Conor McLaughlin for nothing.

When asked if Bolger has been offered a new deal, Barton said: "That is not really up to me. Firstly there has to be an appetite from both sides.

"I think there has to be an appetite to sign a new deal.

"The difficulty lies in they have had interest in him before; they have had bids rejected before I got here.

"We will no doubt have a conversation about it but it has got to the point now where you can see the end of his contract.

"We would hope to avoid players leaving this football club without any fee but also it is difficult when they are not the players you have brought in or they are not the players that you have worked with over a long period of time.

"I'd be disappointed personally if players started running their contracts down and left the club for nothing.

"It would say as a football club we are not doing the right thing. We need to avoid that in the future.

"But, also, there are certain situations that might have to run the course because they started to unravel before I got here and am unable to do anything about it."