Joey Barton vows young signings won't block path for Fleetwood Town kids

Lewis Gibson went straight into the Fleetwood side the day after his loan move from Everton
Lewis Gibson went straight into the Fleetwood side the day after his loan move from Everton

Joey Barton insists his recruitment of young players during the transfer window will not block the pathway to the first-team for Fleetwood’s own youth products.

READ MORE: Barton says Fleetwood acted fast to pull on unbelievable McKay signing
Teenagers Lewis Gibson and Isak Thorvaldsson joined Town on deadline day, Gibson making his debut in defence against Doncaster Rovers the following day alongside another young Everton loanee Callum Connolly.

But the club attaches great importance to its academy and Barton has never been afraid to blood its talent in his first team.

The Town boss said: “We have the young group coming up behind, like Barry Baggley and James Hill (both substitutes in last weekend’s 2-1 win), and we didn’t want to stockpile other people’s younger players because we have our own to develop.

“We have used our loans to give us the cover we need but also we have Harvey Saunders, Ged Garner, Harrison Holgate, Dylan Boyle, Shayden Morris ... some good young talent.

“So we must be careful not to block their pathways because we have to develop our own talent to be self-sustaining as a football club.

“That is part of the philosophy but we also need to win games to give ourselves the time and credibility to implement our philosophy.

“We are halfway through the journey and I can see that we have that balance in the side.

“We have a young group and the fans have to be patient but this could be a very exciting period for the club.”

Having finally got that first win of 2020 under their belts, Barton hopes to continue climbing the League One table in a busy period of 10 games in five weeks which begins with Saturday’s visit to struggling Wimbledon.

He added: “We have another tough one at Wimbledon, who are fighting for their lives. “They lost to Accrington last Saturday, so will be a wounded animal.

“There are no easy games. We thought we could settle down at 2-0 against Doncaster and I thought, ‘Let’s put the third away and we can enjoy this’ – but then we gave the goal away.

“Sometimes I want to win perfectly but the last month has taught me to cherish the wins when they come because they are hard to get against very competitive sides.

“We’ve beaten a good Doncaster side and I think we’ve answered a lot of questions about the difficult period we’ve been through.

“We had been drawing too much and I’m so pleased for the lads but we have to build on that performance.

“We were just needing to turn those draws into wins. A game like Bristol Rovers (a goalless draw the previous Saturday) we would probably have won if we’d got in front because we were dominant but you have to earn the right to win games.

“But against a good Donny side we did the basics better than them.”