Youth at the back is the way forward for Joey Barton and Fleetwood Town

Callum Connolly and the rest of Fleetwood's young defence have been outstanding for boss Joey Barton
Callum Connolly and the rest of Fleetwood's young defence have been outstanding for boss Joey Barton

Joey Barton says his policy of selecting a youthful back-line is paying off after Fleetwood Town kept a clean sheet at high-flying Wycombe on Tuesday and recorded a third successive League One win.

READ MORE: Barton's disappointed Town did not score more at Wycombe
Veteran defender Peter Clarke and the experienced Ash Eastham both left the club last month, replaced at the heart of Town's defence by Everton's Callum Connolly and Lewis Gibson, who have joined another young loanee in Harry Souttar.

Town's more experienced players are now further forward, where Glenn Whelan has joined Paul Coutts in midfield.

It's a deliberate ploy by Barton and it worked to great effect in the 1-0 win at Adams Park.

The Town head coach said: "Couttsy (aged 31) and Glenn (35) are killing us for average age, with two old fogies in there.

"Earlier on we tried to bring a bit more experience to the back part of the team but that meant we had to give up a bit of mobility.

"I want to play on the front foot coming forward. That means I had to give up on experience in my back-line and go with young legs.

"But to see a 19-year-old (Gibson) in his third league game playing with such composure and quality.... I thought he was outstanding.

"And alongside him Callum Connolly has been outstanding in every department since he's come in. He went into midfield for 20 minutes and put his body on the line.

"And for Harry Souttar to play the way he has, his family will be incredibly proud and so are we. He was outstanding too.

"I'm so proud to keep a clean sheet because Wycombe test you in so many ways, and in the last 20 minutes we've had to absorb an awful amount of pressure due to the fact we're down a body (due to Ched Evans' red card). But at moments like that, good players and good teams start to emerge.

"We've lost one in 12, so in a division where everybody beats everybody we're going along nicely, but we have another tough game on Saturday against Peterborough."