Joey Barton revealed his priority is to reunite Ched Evans and Paddy Madden up front as he discussed Fleetwood Town’s injury problems .
READ MORE: Joey Barton opens up on 'disagreement' with Bobby Grant
Evans missed Tuesday’s draw with Wycombe Wanderers with a shoulder knock but Madden (right) was back in the side, having missed Saturday’s defeat by Barnsley with a groin injury.
While both featured in the defeat at Southend, Evans was recovering from a virus and took a knock in the game.
As Town prepare for a trip to Doncaster Rovers this weekend, Barton is hopeful that two players who have shared nine goals this season will be back together.
He said: “We have to get Paddy and Ched back up front. For me they are as good a partnership as any in the division.
“We have not been able to do it but once all the stars align, which they will, we will take off.”
At the other end of the field, Town have not kept a clean sheet since skipper Craig Morgan limped off in the 1-1 draw at Sunderland at the start of last month.
Having tried another defensive partnership on Tuesday in Ash Eastham and 20-year-old Nathan Sheron, Town boss Barton said: “The key is getting a settled defensive part of the team.
“Look at Wolves in the Prem – they have had the same starting XI for seven games. That is why they have had a good start.
“The lads need that familiarity, where eight, nine or 10 are fixtures in the team. We just have not had that.
“With suspensions and injuries we have not been able to bed the side in. We’ve had no chance of a settled side.
“I’m not using that as an excuse – that is football. I’m just hoping for a period when we have a pool of players we can pick from and can get a nice settled side.”
Barton says he has asked questions as to why the injuries have mounted up and now he hopes Town’s bad luck is over.
He said: “We have questioned everything but it is not down to the training load.
“Conor (McAleny) is only going to be three weeks, Morgs (Morgan) is going to be four. We knew when Tommy (Spurr) came from Preston that he has issues round his hips we have to manage.
“Marns’ (Dean Marney’s) injury has been niggling away for the whole of pre-season, plus we had the virus nipping round the place that affects the immune system and everyone felt more tender. I just hope we are out of the woods. I hope we have had all of our bad luck.”