Fans will learn more about what to expect from Joey Barton’s Fleetwood team as he uses the friendlies at Tranmere and Morecambe on the next two Saturdays to shape his side for the league campaign.
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Barton is gearing up for the big kick-off against AFC Wimbledon in little over a fortnight, but knows he needs a strong squad as he plans for a season of 50-60 games and not just the 46 fixtures in League One.
Town will head to League Two Crewe Alexandra in the Carabao Cup on August 14 and now know all their group opponents in the Checkatrade Trophy.
For the second season running Leicester City’s U21s have been drawn in Town’s group, which also features Rochdale and Bury. The competition begins in the first week of September.
Town’s desire to do well in the cups as well as the league has highlighted the need for a strong squad.
Barton has added an experienced leader in new skipper Craig Morgan and has looked to fix that problematic left-back spot by signing Tommy Spurr and Eddie Clarke.
Most of Barton’s players have got minutes under their belt in the five friendlies to date – all of them won, with 18 goals scored and only two conceded.
And now the new boss is looking to address the finer details in readiness for the August4 kick-off.
Having won promotionswith Burnley, Newcastle and QPR during his playing career, Barton is convinced that success is built around a strong squad and not only 11 first-choice starters.
As the build-up to the season enters a new phase, Barton said:“We’ve been able to keep the physical side of it all on the football field.
“We wanted to get them football fit and get them minutes in pre-season games.
“In the next couple of games, against Tranmere and Morecambe, we will probably start to shape the side more towards the league campaign.
“We will use our squad all year – we have got the cup competitions.
“I’ve seen the draw with Rochdale and Bury in our group as well as an Under-21 team, and we have got Crewe in the League Cup.
“If you are going to be successful it is a real team effort.
“The players who maybe do not start the first game against Wimbledon will certainly contribute over the course of the year.
“Eleven players do not win all the time, especially when you have 46 league games and a number of cup competitions on top of that.
“We are expecting to play in the region of 50 to 60 games this season.
“To do that we will need a very strong squad and I think we have got that.”