Joey Barton admits Fleetwood Town "can't afford to lose Paddy Madden"

Paddy Madden came off the bench to score Town's derby winner
Paddy Madden came off the bench to score Town's derby winner

Joey Barton revealed his frustration over Fleetwood’s  injury issues and admitted Town cannot afford to lose Paddy Madden, who scored the winning goal against Blackpool

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The striker came off the bench with Fleetwood 2-1 up at Highbury and within minutes netted his sixth of the season.

For the fifth time Ash Hunter assisted Madden (above) but Nathan Delfouneso immediately made it 3-2 only for Fleetwood to hold out for their first ever win over the Seasiders.

Barton was rocked by fresh injury blows to Dean Marney (leg) and Ryan Taylor (shoulder) but boosted by the return of left-back James Husband and of Madden for the derby.

Madden had not trained all week and was only fit enough for the bench due to his hamstring niggle, while fellow front man Ched Evans’ niggling injury is also being managed.

Barton said: “I was a little bit annoyed (before the Blackpool game) because I know what we are capable of if we have our best players available.

“You do have spells like this, when players pick up knocks and niggles.

“We did not start Paddy Madden on Saturday because his hamstring was tight. Ched felt a little bit tight on Friday, and with Hubby (Husband) coming back I felt we could end up with three people with tight hamstrings having to come off, which could swing the momentum.

“Paddy was disappointed but I told him, ‘We are going to use you but we can’t afford to lose you’.

“Having not trained since Portsmouth, yes, we wanted him to do a shift for us because he is a fantastic player but we know the risks that come with it.

“We cannot afford to lose Paddy Madden. He is such a massive part of our team and the way we structure it, as was proved by an incredible goal he scored.

“He understood. He knew it was best for the team and I’m buzzing for him because he gets the goal and shows what a top player he is”.

The Town boss hailed several other players and stressed the difference Evans makes to his side.

Barton said: “There were some real quality team performances,

“Ash Eastham, outstanding, set the tone; young Shez (Nathan Sheron), tremendous; Holty (Jason Holt), tremendous.

“I have to single out Ched Evans. What a difference he makes for us when he plays.

“He is a superb player and he makes everyone around him play better, which is the sign of a fantastic player.”