Joey Barton is keen for a show of Fleetwood Town’s squad strength

Fleetwood Town's James Husband
Fleetwood Town's James Husband

Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton is delighted to have his players returning from injury with only James Husband a doubt for today’s game against Portsmouth.

The left-back has been out with a hamstring problem since the 2-0 defeat at Luton Town earlier this month.

However, he is on his way back as Barton revelled in naming a strong bench for the Boxing Day win against Doncaster Rovers.

He said: “You always want your full quota of players.

“I looked at the bench on Boxing Day and I thought ‘wow, we are really strong.’

“On Saturday (at Bristol Rovers), we had a couple of 18-year-olds on there.

“Those lads will get opportunities because they are training with us on a more regular basis now.

“When you have got a light bench or a young bench there is almost a bit of anxiety in and around the team because somebody knows if they have to come off, it will severely compromise it.

“Normally when you get everybody fit, nobody picks up an injury but when you get a spate of injuries it tends to be infectious both ways.

“We have got to have our best players available all the time to give ourselves the best chance.”

Versatile youngster Nathan Sheron came off at half-time against Doncaster, having picked up a yellow card.

Nevertheless, Barton was also pleased with the performance of his replacement, Harrison Biggins.

He said: “Shez was a purely tactical substitution.

“He got a yellow card which I felt was incredibly harsh; he has gone and won the ball and his momentum takes him into the player.

“He fills in a lot of slots for us and I felt he was a little bit nervy about getting a second yellow and putting us down to 10 men.

“While we have the strength on the bench that we had on Boxing Day there was no point in us making an unnecessary risk with a young player.

“But flipping Coyley (Lewie Coyle) back to his position (right-back) meant Ross Wallace dropped down and we got a lot of energy and enthusiasm that Harrison Biggins brings.

“I think that helped us in the second period and in the second half we looked a much better outfit.”

Kyle Dempsey could also back in contention this afternoon following a knock in a behind closed doors game with Preston North End.

Barton said: “He had a little bit of a contusion that has lingered on.

“We want him fit and ready but he is back training now. It was only a short-term one and he should be available.”