Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton says Ched Evans is a doubt for Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Alfreton after the striker missed training on Thursday.
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The Sheffield United loanee has had a busy week away from football, having announced he is to sue the law firm which represented him at a 2012 rape trial as he bids to recoup millions in lost earnings.
The 29-year-old spent two and a half years in jail and was cleared at a retrial in 2016. His case against legal firm Brabners is set for the High Court in April.
The six-goal striker has also struggled with a shoulder injury this season.
Evans, Leeds defender Lewie Coyle, Norwich left-back James Husband and Rangers midfielder Jason Holt have all been cleared by their parent clubs to play in Sunday’s first-round tie.
Barton said of Evans: We are monitoring him. He will probably train the next couple of days and we will see where he is at.
“We want to play a strong side, so if he is fit, great; if not, it could be an opportunity for someone who has impressed.
“Ched’s situation is something we were aware of before he joined us and it has to run its natural course.
“Fortunately for us we have players who can come in and fill in.
“He is a vital component in our squad but you have to have your private matters in order to play your best football.”
Conor McAleny, Dean Marney, Ryan Taylor and James Wallace all trained yesterday after injury.
McAleny had spent time training away from the main group and Barton said: “Conor has joined back in. He has had a couple of little set-backs. He is so keen to get back that we have to protect him from himself a little bit.
“We are desperate to get him back in the group because of the qualities he has. A fit Conor McAleny he is a massive tool in our arsenal.”
Marney featured in the development side that won 3-1 at Huddersfield on Tuesday alongside Billy Crellin, Gethin Jones, Harrison Holgate, Cian Bolger, Eddie Clarke, Kyle Dempsey, Harrison Biggins, Ged Garner and Chris Long. And Barton hinted some of these could get a chance on Sunday.
He added: “I said to the lads after the game that pretty much everyone enhanced their credentials.
“Their application was first-class and it was really pleasing, everyone understanding it was a good opportunity to get minutes on the board.
“A lot of players have given me food for thought.”