Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton believes newly returned striker Ashley Nadesan proved he can compete at League One level in the 2-2 draw with Oxford United.
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Nadesan, 24, joined Town from non-league Horley Town in the summer of 2016, giving up his job at McDonalds to make the leap into professional football.
But he made just one League appearance off the bench during Uwe Rosler’s reign, in the 2-0 win over AFC Wimbledon in August 2017.
Nadesan had embarked on his first loan spell at League Two club Carlisle when John Sheridan took temporary charge at Town last February.
And Barton sent Nadesan back to Carlisle when he replaced Sheridan last summer.
There the striker linked up with Sheridan, netting nine times in a blistering half-season loan spell.
Now he has returned to Town and finally made his first League start for the club last Saturday, teeing up Paddy Madden for their second goal in the 2-2 draw.
Barton says Nadesan is like a new signing but must adapt to the third tier.
He said of the striker’s performance: “Very good. He has just struggled with the demands of League One really.
“He came in, trained, was a little bit stiff before the game but was fine with his load going up in terms of what he was doing at Carlisle. I thought he was excellent – good pressing angles, good calmness in the box and a really good pull-back for Paddy.
“He goes away as a young kid, scores goals at Carlisle and comes back as a first- team player.
“It’s perfect for us that the loan worked and he should just grow and prosper. He will get game-time.
“He wants to learn, he wants to get better and we want him to stay at this football club.
“I do not know what has gone on before. Maybe he was disillusioned under previous regimes.
“I said to him that if he goes away and does well on loan, we will monitor him and give him a shot in the first team.
“I know he got a bit tired in the second half but for me he showed on Saturday that he can play at this level.
“If he continues to do that he will become an established first-team player for us.”