Joey Barton is ready to watch Ched Evans and Paddy Madden battle to be Fleetwood Town’s top scorer

Fleetwood Town front pair Paddy Madden and Ched Evans
Fleetwood Town front pair Paddy Madden and Ched Evans

Joey Barton is anticipating a battle if Fleetwood Town win a penalty at Wycombe Wanders today with Ched Evans and Paddy Madden both on the pitch.

The two are in a fight to be Town’s top scorer this season with Madden leading the way on 19, one ahead of Evans.

Madden went back to the top by scoring against Sunderland on Tuesday, a game which Evans missed because of a hamstring tweak.

He remains a doubt for the final game of the season, along with Stoke City loanee Harry Souttar (toe).

“I think he has an agreement in his contract with the owner that he gets something for the 20-goal mark,” Barton said of Madden.

“He will be taking goal kicks, throw-ins, corners; he has been first class.

“I thought he’d get there a while back. I did think he would get to 25 at least because he was at 18 sharply.

“It has not panned out that way but his work rate has been superb.

“It is great to see him back on the goal trail. I think him and Ched have had a running battle, they were both on 18 last week.

“Paddy did say he would win it. Hopefully Ched will be fit for the weekend and he gets an opportunity to do something about that.

“If Ched scores and we get a penalty, we could well have a royal rumble on our hands for that ball.

“We might have to let Ash Hunter or someone take it!”

Joking aside, Barton reiterated the need for healthy competition in his squad.

The strikers have been aided by coach Andy Mangan with Barton revealing his importance.

He said: “Competition is what drives you on.

“For me we have not had enough competition for those two lads (Evans and Madden) all season.

“Nadders (Ashley Nadesan) has come in and given that competition since January but Chris Long did not push the lads enough in the first half of the season before going to Blackpool.

“Strikers are a weird bunch, they need to be looking over their shoulders to drive themselves. They are very rarely happy unless they have scored goals.

“They play superbly well, like Paddy has been, but not scoring and they just get really down on themselves.

“That is where Mangs (Mangan) has been brilliant because he has been very enthusiastic and works with the strikers.

“A lot of it is on the training pitch but also a lot that he does is get amongst them and help them with their confidence. Strikers with confidence score goals.”