Joey Barton was disappointed that his Fleetwood fringe players did not take the chance to prove to him they are pushing for a place in his League One side. Fleetwood lost 2-0 to Rochdale at Highbury in the Checkatrade Trophy.
READ MORE: Fleetwood Town 0 Rochdale 2 - full report
And Barton, who made 10 changes to the side that won 4-0 at Doncaster on Saturday, was disappointed with the senior players on show.
Jason Holt, Wes Burns, Kyle Dempsey, Craig Morgan, Chris Long and Gethin Jones all got starts.
Youngsters Harrison Biggins, Billy Crellin, Dan Mooney (pictured), Nathan Sheron and Eddie Clarke also got the nod.
Barton said: “Really poor. Probably the worst performance – certainly the first 45 is the worst of my tenure. I told the lads in no uncertain terms at half-time.
“I know we rotated. I see this competition as an opportunity to have a look at the younger players and give them a bit of game time.
“We had a couple of 17 and 18-year-olds on the bench tonight. We want to get them in so they get that first-team experience
“But I thought the senior players were really poor. I think they need to go away and have a long, hard look at themselves. They have to decide whether they want to play for this football club because the performance tonight does not warrant that.
“I think they have been on the whole very good. The training level has been very good, but when you have the opportunity to show what you can do you have to take it.
“We had lads tonight who have played in the first team and just were not good enough.
“I think we lacked desire to win a football match and that is the most concerning thing.
“I can live with making mistakes. We have a young keeper (Crellin) who maybe should shell it out a couple of minutes after half-time but he will be a better goalkeeper for it.
“Eddie Clarke showed some good spells. He is progressing. Ryan Rydel came on and young Mooney played.
“All those young kids learned valuable lessons but the flipside is that the senior players left a lot to be desired with their performances.
“A lot of them will be knocking on my door saying they should be in the first team. But when I give them the opportunity they cannot go home, look in the mirror and say they have given a fantastic account of themselves.
“I’m disappointed for them because the Checkatrade is a chance and some of them have missed that opportunity.”