Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton confirms Gethin Jones and Chris Long set to join Bobby Grant and train with U18 squad

Gethin Jones
Gethin Jones

Gethin Jones and Chris Long will join Bobby Grant in training with Fleetwood Town’s U18s with two of the three set for January exits.

Jones and Long were hauled off at half-time in Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy loss at Bury and have joined Grant, who has been with the youngsters since a disagreement over team selection prior to the loss against Barnsley.

Of the three, Jones is the one who still has a chance of remaining following feedback from within the Highbury dressing room as manager Joey Barton outlined.

He said: “We will have another couple of players joining him (Grant) this week; one who has a lifeline at the club, one who probably does not.

“Gethin only has one effort error; he is a good lad but I felt he severely let himself down in his performance.

“Without criticising him, I told him after the game in the office.

“He is not a bad lad, he tries on the whole in training most of the time but his data (on Tuesday) was so far off.

“I said to him: ‘You just cannot do this. You cannot be that far off because your game is based on your physicality and you cannot be that far off, it is not acceptable.’

“It wasn’t a lack of anything other than effort from the pair of them.

“Not challenging for balls, goals coming down their side, ducking for headers, stuff that is non-negotiable for me.

“What message am I sending to the group, to young kids, that they can turn up and decide that they are not going to put it in?

“There have been multiple things with Longy.

“I told him at half-time to speak to his agent to find a new club for January because he has had multiple violations within the group.

“I was with him at Burnley, I used to be in the car with him driving in.

“I know Chris, he is a good lad; I’m not knocking him away from the game but his conduct, for me, is not befitting of a player that wants to be in our squad.

“Bobby’s attitude, Bobby’s conduct, his communications,are poor; that is why he is not in the group.

“Do I envisage a period where he will come back into the group? No, because the group do not want him in the group.

“I know Bob won’t like that. He will probably have something to say about it but you have got to be a good team-mate.

“The premise of being at any club, you have got to be a good person.

“You can be a competitor, go into challenges, show you want to play but then when a team is selected, you cannot be badmouthing other players just because they are selected ahead of you.

“I get there will be some fans that like Bobby, he does community stuff that kind of thing.

“I get that but also this is football. Football is about a lot more than the stuff you do than when there is a camera trained on you.

“It is actually a lot more about what you do when nobody is watching, about when nobody has a camera pointed at you.

“A lot of our lads are first class, lads who do lots of things right in and out of the training ground, within the community and my energy has to be focused on them.

“People can always change or earn their way back in, I just think it is going to be difficult for those lads to do it.

“People think it is personal – it is nothing personal.

“We are not good enough to carry people who only care about themselves.

“It is as straightforward as that; people who are not team people will not survive at Fleetwood Town.

“If you are not in the team I don’t expect you to be speaking negatively of fellow people who are just working hard and have got in the team ahead of you.

“I don’t think that is correct in any form of life. Do something about it, do it with your actions.

“If you are not in the team then show me on the training pitch or show me when you get a chance in the Checkatrade that you do want to play.

“You have to be able to look yourself in the mirror in the morning and think ‘have I done the correct thing by the group?’"

And Barton explained that the group is his priority as he says Gethin Jones has a lifeline because of the senior players

He said: "It might (annoy) someone, might rattle someone's cage but my job is to make sure this group is protected at all times.

"The feedback from the group is key.

"Also the aftermath of certain events.

"The group don't want certain people part of it - not me!

"I think it is the group's decision - you can ask them.

"Their conduct afterwards says to you it was a group's decision, not just the manager's decision.

"Without going into the details of it.

"When something like that happens the dressing room is the key.

"This week we have a generals group, we speak to them.

"Their feedback was we feel it is a little harsh on him (Gethin Jones) and I take that on board.

"That is why I say he has a lifeline.

"I explained to them the decision making process, why it has happened, they have given us the feedback on it.

"It has been taken on board because it is about all of us.

"It is not just about what I want to do.

"I'm not a tyrannical dictator that is going round and taking people's careers away from them.

"That is not what I want to do.

"But also if you are not contributing at this club, even if it is not on the pitch but as a member of our group if we are talking about building a culture, you just cannot be in it.

"We have got to get you out. You can go do it somewhere else.

"If you want to be a team person and build a successful culture here then let's go.

"We have got lots of people that do and we have got to use that energy correctly.

"What we don't need is someone coming in and negatively affecting that.

"I will be the one who takes the flack for it, answers the questions off you but they are always group decisions."

And Barton explained just what he means by the phrase ‘effort errors.’

He said: “I explained to them we talk about skills errors and effort errors.

“Making a mistake tactically or misplacing a pass or not knowing exactly what to do in a certain role is a coach’s responsibility.

“It is our responsibility to improve them, make sure the picture is clear; we can work with that and improve if that is the way.

“Effort errors, not running hard, deciding not to go in for a challenge, deciding to try a little harder in three weeks as opposed to this week, you cannot negotiate with.

“I explained to the lads, the difference between skills and effort errors. If you have two effort errors you will leave the group.

“We have a number of players who have gone into two effort errors and they do not deserve to be a part of what we are doing.

“You look at some lads who are giving everything every day in training, I can name 12 of them.

“It is not fair on them when other lads that are not entitled to anything decide they are not going to try because it is the Checkatrade or they think they are too good to play in that.

“If you have a player playing at 98 per cent and another playing at 76 – OK we all have off days, you can feel sick – but if you have a couple of weeks of training where that is the case then clearly you are not doing what you are paid to do.

“It is not hard to turn up and work hard.

“I’m not asking you to turn up and be Lionel Messi, I’m just saying ‘turn up, respect your profession, do everything you can, give yourself the best opportunity you can because you are very fortunate to do this job.’

“The owner (Andy Pilley) pays good money, the minimum requirement is you try hard.

“Hard work, honesty, humility and respect; when certain players turn up, I don’t think they are ticking those boxes – for me, my job is to get rid of them.”