Fleetwood Town’s wide men reap the rewards of their hard work

Fleetwood Town's Ash Hunter and Wes Burns
Fleetwood Town's Ash Hunter and Wes Burns

Joey Barton says the credit for Wes Burns and Ash Hunter’s form this season is down to their desire to improve as players.

Burns netted his fifth goal of the season during Town’s 3-0 win against Coventry City in midweek.

While four-goal Hunter did not feature in that game at Highbury, he has already notched 12 assists in just 20 League One games.

They have been regular starters under Barton this season with Burns’ five league goals more than double his return in the league from the previous two seasons.

He has been deployed on the right flank with Hunter on the opposite side as both have racked up the goals and assists so far.

Nevertheless, Barton hailed the pair for their desire to improve, for listening to the coaching staff and executing what they have learned on the training pitches.

Speaking ahead of Monday’s FA Cup second round tie at Guiseley, Barton also believed the duo have thrived from some of their more experienced team-mates.

Front pair Paddy Madden and Ched Evans have both reaped the rewards of their efforts with nine and seven goals respectively so far this season.

Barton acknowledged: “Again, a lot of it goes back to the lads.

“They have obviously found improvement themselves and they work hard.

“Playing with good players helps you.

“They have got some good team-mates around them.

“If you ask the lads they will tell you that, for Ash’s assists, there is someone who needs to put them in.

“For him he is at the point where he has had maybe a little plateau, he has not been as productive.

“The great thing for us is that you have other stronger players who can pick up that little bit of slack and give him the time to settle back down and go again.

“A lot of the credit goes to themselves to have the desire to improve as players and for listening to the things that have been offered to them and then going out and executing them. As coaches all you can do is offer suggestions.

“It is up to the players to take it on.

“The coaches here work incredibly hard on a daily basis with them.

“I think they are really benefiting from that.

“As I say we do not get anywhere and the lads do not improve if it does not come from them.

“Ash and Wes, among with many other players in the team, deserve enormous credit for finding that improvement.”