Joey Barton explained that he had to let Ross Wallace leave Fleetwood Town to fund the loan signing of Jimmy Dunne from Burnley on transfer deadline day.
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Wallace had re-signed for Town on August 10 and that short-term deal came to end on Monday.
The 34-year-old midfielder, who made 38 Town appearances last season, came off the bench in four of this season’s first seven games.
But when Wallace’s deal expired, Town boss Barton prioritised a central defender after captain Craig Morgan left by mutual consent.
And the money saved on Wallace was used to fund the 21-year-old Dunne’s wages.
Barton said: “Ross had done fantastically well for us but we have all seen with the case going on at Bury that clubs have to balance the books.
“I did not have a centre- half, so in essence I had to swap Jimmy Dunne for Ross Wallace because I needed cover in that area, especially with losing Morgs. That was the decision.
“Disappointed for Ross. I do still feel he has an awful lot to offer and I do feel that if we had more room in our budget I’d definitely have kept Ross on.
“He was great for us last year – robust and played a load of games.
“I have no doubt he will pop back up somewhere because he is a quality player.
“We are disappointed to lose him as a man too because he has been fantastic around the group but you have to balance the books, that is football.”
Barton explained that Morgan, also 34, had fallen behind Harry Souttar, Peter Clarke and Ash Eastham in the pecking order after an injury-hit 2018-19.
Barton said: “Morgs is in a slightly different situation. He got pushed down the pecking order really by the players that came in on loan and the players we had at the club.
“He could not get quite the run of fitness that we wanted and we felt it suited both parties if we had a change of direction.”