Joey Barton says Fleetwood Town will solve defensive problems with money or better coaching

Nathan Sheron is among the young Fleetwood players who could be granted more opportunities this season
Nathan Sheron is among the young Fleetwood players who could be granted more opportunities this season

Joey Barton says money could solve Fleetwood Town’s defensive issues – but if it is not available this transfer window, then he and his staff will just have to become better coaches.

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Town surrendered a 2-0 half-time lead to draw 2-2 at home to Oxford United on Saturday.

Barton’s team would be second in League One if all their games had ended at half-time but instead they are 10th, having lost every game in which they have conceded first.

Town spent their first money of this window yesterday with a swoop for non-league forward Harvey Saunders.

The 21-year-old signed on a two-and-a-half- year deal from Darlington for an undisclosed fee, then immediately rejoined the National League North club on loan until the end of the season.

But Barton’s focus is on shutting out games as Town prepare to visit Rochdale on Saturday, having again failed to protect a lead last weekend.

He says spending money could provide a quick fix and the club is expected to raise cash from Cian Bolger’s departure.

Barton said: “We just need to keep that back door closed and we will learn to do that.

“If we can get some money we can do it relatively quickly; if not we are just going to have to work really hard with what we have got by coaching and growing.

“We can do that, no problem. It just forces us to be better coaches.”

If cash is not forthcoming this month, Town’s young crop like Nathan Sheron will receive more opportunities.

Under-18 players James Hill and Ryan Rydel have also been on the fringes of the first team and Barton will give youth a chance.

He said: “To be honest, I’d welcome a few (signings). I do still think we need a couple.

“But also I’m realistic and know that may not happen due to the financial situation. I understand we have to cut our cloth accordingly here.

“That is no problem. It would create an opportunity for someone else.

“Ideally you would like to grow your own. We have a few I think will be capable of that (stepping up to the first team).

“Whether they are capable between now and the end of the season we will find out.

“Going forward we have to be careful that we do not block their pathways.

“There are a few in that younger group I think do have real potential to be fixtures at this football club and we do not want to bring bodies in for the sake of it. We will only bring players in from now on if they are the right kind of player.

“It has been an adjustment period for me in terms of how we recruited last summer and what we will do going forward. I’m learning all the time.”