Joey Barton says some members of the Fleetwood Town team that crashed out of the Checkatrade Trophy at Bury will have to leave the club in January.
Only Nathan Sheron and Cian Bolger remained from the starting 11 that beat Alfreton in the FA Cup on Sunday.
Paul Jones, Gethin Jones, Eddie Clarke, Kyle Dempsey, James Wallace, Ryan Taylor, Harrison Biggins, Chris Long and Ged Garner all came in.
Barton praised Dempsey, who hit Town’s goal in the 3-1 defeat, and substitutes Conor McAleny, Dean Marnie and Lewis Baines.
And now Barton says the exit door looms for those who have not taken their opportunities. He said: “First half there are a lot of players who have been on the periphery of the squad and want to get minutes.
“Every time they are given them they do not really take an opportunity. Demps did particularly well, second half Dean Marney did well.
“Young Ged Garner got better. Conor McAleny looked bright and sharp. Young Bainsey getting a run- out was good.
“We made a decision earlier in the season that we would approach this competition without being disrespectful to it.
“We always thought it was more of a development competition, an opportunity to get minutes and look at different things.
“It was an opportunity for lads who have not been playing for the first team to show us what they can do to further their case.
“Unfortunately for them, some of them have had three opportunities and have not taken them. The reality of the situation is that we are now not in the Checkatrade and they probably will not play as much as they want to play.
“They cannot say they have not had an opportunity. I think everyone has had a fair crack of the whip.
“Now we have to clear bodies out and create a pathway for some of the younger players. We have younger players that would show more desire to compete and be part of a first-team environment than a few who are considered first-team players.
“I spoke to a few of them in there and unfortunately it is probably time for them to think about leaving this football club because we have to progress the younger players.
“If they are not better than what the younger players could potentially be and are not pushing the first-team players, then there is no point them being here.
“I don’t want players not playing football, so I have been candid with them and they will have to leave.”