Joey Barton keeping his fingers crossed that Sheffield United loan star Ched Evans remains at Fleetwood Town amid Sunderland transfer speculation

Fleetwood Town forward Ched Evans
Fleetwood Town forward Ched Evans

Joey Barton is keeping his fingers crossed that Sheffield United loan star Ched Evans remains at Fleetwood Town as Sunderland reportedly plan a raid for the striker.

Joey Barton is keeping his fingers crossed that Sheffield United loan star Ched Evans remains at Fleetwood Town as Sunderland reportedly plan a raid for the striker.

Fleetwood boss Barton is expecting the 30-year-old to remain at 12th-placed Town, but speaking earlier in the transfer window he did not rule out an exit for the in-form forward.

Reports from BBC Sheffield claim Sunderland have asked the Championship Blades to recall Evans from his season-long loan and send him to Wearside.

That decision would be out of Town's hands and the club must wait to see if Blades boss Chris Wilder recalls the forward before the transfer window shuts at 11pm on Thursday.

After Conor McAleny made a loan switch to Scottish Premiership club Kilmarnock this week, Evans' exit would leave Town with just four senior forwards - Wes Burns, Ash Hunter, Paddy Madden and Ashley Nadesan - as well as academy prospect Ged Garner.

Town rubbished rumour earlier in the day that 16-goal Madden was heading to the Black Cats.

Speaking earlier in the window, Barton was hopeful of keeping hold of Evans after conversations with Sheffield United boss Wilder.

Barton said: "As far as I know there will not be any recall of Ched from them. Never say never because you never know what football entails.

"He has been good for us and he is playing, so I think we'd expect him to stay for the rest of the season.

"It has not been finalised yet but we are hoping that is the case and that Sheffield United do not see it in their plans to recall him.

"Obviously if they get a number of injuries that situation changes. Fingers crossed we get the opportunity to keep him until the end of the season."