Fleetwood Town keeper Billy Crellin is set for a loan switch as Joey Barton looks to experience for Alex Cairns’ back-up.
Matty Urwin and Crellin have been battling it out for the number two role to Cairns all summer.
It seems the writing is on the wall for that battle given trialist Paul Jones impressed in the club’s final pre-season friendly, Monday’s 2-1 win over Chorley.
The 32-year-old former Crawley Town, Southend United and Portsmouth man is a free agent having left Norwich City this summer.
Barton is looking for an experienced keeper to push Cairns with Urwin having seemingly failed to take his chance this summer after last season’s successful loan at Chorley.
Crellin is still in Barton’s future plans but the Town boss wants to send out the 18-year-old to get him used to men’s football.
He looks set to follow the example set by Urwin last season by dropping down to non-league but using Town’s Poolfoot base during the week.
Barton is pleased with the competition for places elsewhere on the pitch ahead of Saturday’s League One opener with AFC Wimbledon.
He said: “He (Jones) did more than enough on Monday to show his quality.
“The save he makes from the free-kick is what the game turned on because if we go two behind you probably would have gone up a few gears as we showed when we were 1-0 down.
“But I think that was the kick up the backside we needed.
“Luckily we have a little magician (Ash Hunter) in the side who managed to score an incredible goal and follow that up with a clinical strike.
“We definitely need another keeper. Young Billy Crellin is about to go out on loan which is the right thing for him.
“It will get him some senior men’s football experience and we think that is the next progression for him.
“He will train with us during the week but we will get him some men’s games at the weekend.
“We have got to think about his development and I think we need an established keeper who can, if needed, come in and push Al so I think Jonah showed he can do that.
“I think Al needs the competition to push himself and we are starting to get competition all round the pitch.
“I’m delighted to get this out of the way and looking forward to going and getting a positive performance at home to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.”