James Hill makes Fleetwood history as Joey Barton explains 11 team changes at Leicester
Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton admitted the League Cup was not a priority after the 4-0 defeat at Leicester but he was pleased to make history again as James Hill became the youngest player to feature for the first team.
The 16-year-old, who captains Town’s Under-18s, came off the bench in the second round tie at King Power Stadium.The son of ex-Preston player Matt did not look out of place as Barton made 11 changes from the side that drew at Charlton on Saturday.
But he was not the only debutant as summer signing James Wallace finally made his first Town appearance as keeper Paul Jones made his bow.The Town boss said: “The really pleasing thing was the performance of Harrison Biggins and to get James Wallace on the pitch. We know what qualities he has and it was great for him to get on.“Young Hilly gets out on the pitch and shows that calmness and assuredness you would not expect from someone of those years.“That is a real tip of the hat to the academy. To have a 16-year-old make his debut is a testament to the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.“So while it is a really disappointing result, we will pick the positives because there were many out there.“Ninety minutes, some enhancing their claims and some who could work harder and smarter, but if I felt we could cause an upset and win the game I would not have made 11 changes.”Barton wanted to give opportunities to players like Hill and to other first-teamers demanding game time. He said: “I picked a side and showed a lot of trust in a few lads who have been knocking the door down and saying they should be playing in the first team.“I gave them that opportunity tonight. Some of them enhanced their claims and some will want to get back to the training ground and try to give a better account of themselves.“When you come to a Premier League club and make 11 changes, you know that does not make it easy for those lads to go on the pitch.“The reality of it is that without wanting to dumb down this competition we are not in it to win it.“I knew that whatever changes Leicester made would be multi-million pound internationals coming in. There is a lot of money on the park.“They have players who have not even got in their squad tonight who are probably worth more than our whole football club.“The game is about levels and our lads have to take that on board.“If you are aspiring to be at that level, then we have to pick the bones out of that game. We will help them do that, hopefully improve and get a positive performance against Bradford on Saturday, which is the lifeblood of the club.“The FA Cup is a Saturday competition and is more palatable for us without a shadow of a doubt because it fits in the schedule.“We have just come off a Wednesday-Saturday, including a visit to Charlton. It’s a third away game in a week, so you have to shuffle your pack whether you want to or not.“If we were to go strong and pick up injuries, you would be kicking yourself against Bradford.“Because it was three away games on the spin, you accumulate the fatigue of the travel, and you virtually skip the training ground and get back on the coach.“That is the reason I shuffled the pack.”