Joey Barton reveals drinks mix-up forced Fleetwood Town's Ash Eastham to leave field with illness

Ash Eastham had a negative reaction to caffeine on Tuesday
Ash Eastham had a negative reaction to caffeine on Tuesday

Joey Barton revealed that Fleetwood Town’s Ash Eastham was felled by a reaction to caffeine during the midweek win over Coventry City but will bid to bounce back for Monday’s FA Cup tie at Guiseley.

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Eastham, 27, has played in every League One game since Barton left him out of the opening-day defeat by AFC Wimbledon.

But the defender was forced off with sickness six minutes into the second half of Tuesday’s 3-0 Highbury win.

At first it was thought Town’s first-choice centre-half had a stomach bug.

However, Barton explained that Eastham has a caffeine-free diet but took a drink from the wrong bottle on Tuesday.

The centre-half is expected to be back for Town’s televised second-round clash against the National League North side.

Barton said: “It is not even illness. He has picked up a caffeine drink and he does not usually drink caffeine.

“There were two different drinks. One was electrolyte, the other caffeine and he has picked up the wrong one.

“It is the madness of football. How do you account for that in a game plan?

“It’s another new experience for us. I will speak to Ash but I think he is fine.”

Other players will be assessed before Monday’s game. Barton added: “A few have had a lot of load in the last couple of weeks, so Thursday was another recovery day in essence.

“A game on Monday gives us a longer stretch to get freshness back into the guys.

“We will be bob on for Monday and looking forward to a test in the FA Cup.”

The recalled club captain Craig Morgan had started Tuesday’s game alongside Eastham, whose illness provided another opportunity for Cian Bolger in the second half.

Bolger’s error had led to Plymouth’s opening goal in the 2-1 defeat on Saturday but Barton was pleased to see the defender respond so well against the Sky Blues, ensuring Town kept a clean sheet despite the disruption.

He said: “The bench was used again because Ash was feeling sick. Cian came on and set the tone.

“He bounced back from a little bit of negativity, feeling he had let the lads down in terms of the first goal at Plymouth.

“We spoke to him and said, ‘We defend as a team’. It’s an ethos we want to have here and he put that disappointment behind him.

“Morgs came in ahead of him but he came on in the 50th minute and I thought he was excellent.”