Joey Barton expects interest in Fleetwood Town’s principal players

Fleetwood Town's Ash Hunter
Fleetwood Town's Ash Hunter

Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton would not be shocked if they are fending off interest in their main players before the January transfer window closes next week.

Town have no bids for their stars and Barton hopes it stays that way as they host Scunthorpe United today.

Paddy Madden is on 16 goals for this season, while Wes Burns and Ash Hunter have both found the net on seven occasions.

Given the amount of goals in his side – especially with Sheffield United loan star Ched Evans having netted 12 – Barton would not be surprised if someone tested chairman Andy Pilley’s wallet.

“We’ve had a couple of enquiries about the lads who have not been playing but none as yet for the first team,” Barton said.

“Hopefully we do not get any and we get to consolidate with what we have.

“It is the transfer window and it will be barmy at some point in the next week. It is just what happens.

“They see other clubs where they can nick the odd bargain in January but they know that does not happen so much here with Steve Curwood (chief executive) and Andy Pilley (chairman).

“You have to pay value for what you get out of Fleetwood unless it has been players running down their contracts and then in that case they have had to sell.

“I would not be surprised if we had bids for players between now and the end of the window because we have players that are scoring goals who are being matchwinners.

“You would expect there to be a lot of admirers out there.

“When you see the scouting list, clearly lots of our players are being monitored by some of the bigger clubs.

“That is a huge compliment to them and the way they are performing.

“For me, if a bid comes in we will sensibly talk about it because you want to see players progress their careers.

“If they feel it is not with us then we will talk about that.

“At this moment in time we have not got that but we have some really exciting prospects that, in the course of my managerial career here, no doubt we will be tested for them because they are good players.”

One player who has left Town is young defender Lewis Baines, who has joined National League North side Stockport County on loan until the end of the term.

There is a loan spot for Town to fill after Tommy Spurr’s return to Preston North End but Barton will not bring in anyone for the sake of it.

He said: “There are a couple of players that need games.

“If something comes up for them then we will look at that.

“We’ve lost a lot of the players that we wanted to lose.

“They have gone out and we have sort of trimmed the group back.

“We will probably bring a couple in I would imagine.

“We have got a loan space so if we can find the right person for that we will use it.

“We need to take a little bit of cover in certain positions to give us a bit of insulation should anyone pick up any knocks or niggles.

“We are going to bring someone in who we hope can compete and add to the group.

“If not then we will just roll with what we have got because we have got some talented lads in the building.”