He swooped for experienced senior players in the summer transfer window but Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton will look to add youth to his squad if he is able to shop next month.
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Barton signed his ex-Burnley team-mate Dean Marney, 34, skipper Craig Morgan, 34, keeper Paul Jones, 32, James Wallace, 27, Chris Long, 23, and Eddie Clarke, 19, on free transfers in the summer and has since added free agents Ross Wallace, 33, and Ryan Taylor, 34.
The Town boss also brought in eight-goal striker Ched Evans, 30 today, midfielder Jason Holt, 25, and defender Tommy Spurr, 31 on season-long loans. Town’s loan deals with full-backs Lewie Coyle and James Husband expire next month.
With the exception of Spurr, whose loan from Preston is set to be cancelled due to a hip injury, Barton’s loan recruits have all been regular starters, as have Marney, Morgan, Taylor and Ross Wallace.
Like James Wallace, Marney and Morgan’s season has been affected by injury.
Despite joking that he wants £10m to spend in this transfer window, the Town boss is now targeting younger players he can develop after addressing the squad’s lack of experience.
When Barton took over in June, the since departed Toumani Diagouraga was the only player in the squad over 30.
Now Barton wants more youth to complement an experienced group as his 10th-placed side aim to look up in the second half of the season.
Questioned about his recruitment meetings, Barton joked: “I’ve just asked for another £10m. If we spend £10m in January we should push for those play-off places. Whether I get it is a totally different thing.”
On a serious note, he added: “For me, it is just about being aware of where the club is at.
“I want to recruit players who we can work with for the next two or three years, who we can develop and who have a saleable asset value if we put hard work in on the training ground. I want a lot more of a younger flavour to the group.
“I think we had to recruit the way we did in the summer. That was key for us.
“Good players are good players. You have got to ask, ‘Does he upgrade our group?’
“We discussed many different targets at different levels but there are many other teams doing the same thing. It is about making sure we get in good-quality people and good-quality players.
“It is important for our culture that we recruit superbly. I just want enthusiastic people. I don’t care whether they are 21 or 45.”