Joey Barton is keen to see forward-turned-defender Wes Burns lock down the right-back role in Fleetwood Town’s final 11 games of the campaign.
Burns slotted in there to cover for the suspended Lewie Coyle in January.
Burns impressed in the role in the 3-0 win at AFC Wimbledon and the 1-0 victories over Scunthorpe and Charlton, and Barton can see him playing at a higher level than League One.
A niggle saw Burns miss the 1-0 win over Bradford, when Coyle returned to the full-back role, and Burns was back in the front three for the 2-1 defeat by league leaders Luton Town.
As that game progressed, Barton moved Burns to full-back and tried Coyle in central midfield .
And that has continued to be the way for the 1-0 win at Burton Albion and last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Gillingham.
As 10th-placed Town head to Walsall tomorrow, Barton said of the versatile Burns: “The beauty of it is he gives us a bit of freedom tactically because I know he can play well in that position.
“But also I know he can play in other positions, which is great because when you are a smaller squad like wyou need a bit of flexibility.
“Sometimes we might use Wes on the front line because we think he can be dangerous and cause problems.
“He can also play wing-back and right-back.
“A real positive for us to have him in the squad.
“I’d like to make him a domain expert and hope he locks the position down so we do know if required. You need a bit of versatility.
“We’ve seen Coyley play centre-mid and left-back too. If you have that as a player, you are always valuable to the manager and the coaching staff.”
Contract negotiations are in the pipeline for Burns and Ross Wallace.
Ross Wallace has missed the last two games after picking up his 10th yellow of the term in the 2-1 defeat to Luton Town. The midfielder, 33, has signed a contract until the end of the season and Barton is keen to extend the former Sheffield Wednesday man’s stay at Highbury.