Joey Barton hopes first strike for Conor McAleny will lead to goal rush at Fleetwood Town

Conor McAleny tries his luck at the City Ground but hasn't scored for Fleetwood since September 2018
Conor McAleny tries his luck at the City Ground but hasn't scored for Fleetwood since September 2018

Joey Barton says Conor McAleny will take off when he gets a goal and the Fleetwood boss praised the striker for his outstanding start to the season.

READ MORE: Joey Barton's reaction to Carabao Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest
McAleny, 27, has not scored in English football since he netted in the Checkatrade Trophy in September.

The Liverpudlian scored three times on loan in Scotland at Kilmarnock last season and Barton backed his striker to get the goals.

The forward was moved to the bench for Town’s 1-0 Carabao Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest after starting in the League One wins over Peterborough and AFC Wimbledon.

The striker impressed Barton off the bench and he also hailed forward Paddy Madden, adding that Ched Evans is on his way to full fitness.

Barton said: “Ched is on his way. Paddy is usually deadly as you saw on Saturday. He could have had a hat-trick in 45 minutes.

“He carves out a chance for himself today (at Forest). He was on his left foot. If he was on his right he would have stuck it past the keeper.

“Conor has been outstanding. He just needs a goal. Once he gets that he will show his full potential and I think it will be like the proverbial London bus. Hopefully it is round the corner and once he gets a goal I expect him to take off.”

Barton gave Ash Hunter and Madden their first starts of the season.

It was Hunter’s 200th appearance and against his boyhood club.

But Barton says the occasion might have affected him and he came off in the 53rd minute.

How hard a decision was it to charge the starting side? “Really tough,” Barton (left) said.

“If it was a league game there might have been a different selection. I felt we needed to get minutes into Hunter, especially with him being a Forest fan. I’m not one for sentiment but he has followed Forest up and down the country and never played at this ground.

“I thought it was the right thing to play him. I do think he was maybe affected by the occasion. He probably played the game 20 times in his head on Monday night.

“He just looked a little bit off it. When we brought Josh (Morris) and Conor on we got that real zip but that was always the plan. The plan was to make changes at the 60 mark.

“We’d get them into deep water and take the crowd away.

“To be fair to the fans at the City Ground they stuck with them all the way through,

“But it is cup football and our focus now turns to the league campaign and a tough fixture at Doncaster.”