Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton ready to ‘shuffle the cards’ after more injury doubts

Fleetwood Town's Ched Evans warms up
Fleetwood Town's Ched Evans warms up

Fleetwood Town’s treatment room has been a busy place in the last few weeks, with striker Ched Evans now a doubt for the Wycombe Wanderers clash.

Evans (shoulder) joins Dean Marney (groin), Tommy Spurr (groin), Conor McAleny (hamstring) and Craig Morgan (hamstring) in the physio’s room.

Evans managed the full 90 as Fleetwood lost 3-1 to Barnsley on Saturday, though Spurr limped off just after the Tykes had levelled.

But striker Paddy Madden should be fit enough to return tonight, with Marney also nearing a return.

And Town boss Joey Barton says Madden and Marney’s omission from Saturday’s squad was precautionary.

He said: “We will assess it. We have given them time to settle down, assess them and see where they are at.

“We have a strong squad , with players champing at the bit for opportunities.

“We may have to shuffle the cards again. If we do, it will be somebody else’s chance.”

And with Evans now a doubt, Barton says his squad is big enough to cope.

The Town boss is also boosted by the return of Ash Hunter and James Wallace after suspension.

Barton said: “We have a couple of niggles.

“It is more precautionary. We don’t want to push the lads and turn a few days’ injury into a few weeks’ or even longer.

“We need to be careful with the health of the squad. We have got a nice size to it and we have got real competition for places.

“We want a settled side. You want to play the same players and get them into the groove, but sometimes football does not allow you to do that.

“We have to keep adjusting and we have got quality in the building. We have to believe in the group.

“I thought Tommy Spurr was really good before his enforced substitution when his groin tightened up.

“That is part and parcel of football and we just have to address it.

“We have a good enough squad to compensate for it.

“Ched looks like he might have an issue with his shoulder. We are hoping it is nothing serious because the last thing you need is to lose more players. That is football and we will come back stronger against Wycombe.”

Barton was boosted by starts for his two new signings Ryan Taylor and Ross Wallace on Saturday.

And he was pleased to see them both complete their first 90 minutes of the season.

He said: “I think they were excellent, considering it is their first 90 minutes.

“They have lost a pre-season programme due to their circumstances but we are delighted to have them in.

“They give us that threat from set-plays. We caused panic in Barnsley’s defensive ranks a number of times.

“They will add more than just the set-plays because they are top- quality players. They will be stronger to get the minutes under their belts.”

It was also a first league start of the season for Harrison Biggins. He netted his first goal for the club against the side that released him as a youngster and Barton hopes that goal is the first of many.

The head coach added: “I’m Delighted for him. He has been pushing hard every day in training and has turned himself into a really good young player.

“I think it is extra-special for him, given he was released by Barnsley.

“It will be tainted by the fact we didn’t win the game because he is a winner and a competitor. He will have wanted to win the game but it’s a great moment for him. Hopefully it is the first of many for H.”