Joey Barton: Loan interest reflects Fleetwood Town’s progression as a club
The Cod Army, who announced the signing of Glenn Whelan yesterday, have seen some players leave on loan this month with Ash Hunter the first to go, joining Salford City.
Following him through the exit door this week have been Nathan Sheron (Walsall) and Macauley Southam-Hales (Hartlepool United).
Speaking ahead of today’s game against Bristol Rovers, Barton said: “I’m pleased because it says a lot, for me, of our progress.
“When I first came to the club, I think about the first crop of players that had to be moved on from the football club.
“Our owner (Andy Pilley) was having to pay a lot of them to leave, such was the interest in their footballing talent and footballing ability.
“Now, we’re getting better loans for our players, there are good clubs that want to take them on loan.
“If they can’t get in our first team, clearly they see that they’re going to be good enough to challenge for their first team.
“I think it’s really encouraging signs for the wellbeing of the club in terms of the development pathways to get into our first team.
“That’s because our players are fit and they know our first team is a good first team.”
Sheron’s departure may have been a surprise given his 33 appearances last season but Barton wants him to have more game time.
“He’s been unfortunate this year; when the opportunities have been there he’s not been 100 per cent match fit,” Barton explained.
“There were the 20-odd games he got last season where we thought he did really well.
“He hasn’t been able to get the same opportunities this season.
“I spoke to the manager at Walsall (Darrell Clarke) and where he wants to use Shez and it’s compatible with where we want to see him playing.
“It’s a great opportunity to continue his development and then hopefully come back in the summer a more experienced player and fight for his place in our team again.
“There’s nothing worse than sending someone out on loan and it being a poor loan.
“You might as well keep them here and monitor their development every day ourselves.
“We’ll only use them if we feel it is the right thing for the player.”