Fleetwood boss Barton eager to bring in another left back

Lewie Coyle
Lewie Coyle
Share this article

Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton admits his squad is short of a left-back, though the club is still able to dip into the loan market.

Barton kept hold of all his star men when the transfer window closed last Thursday and is happy with his squad.

But after working to address that problematic left-back hole left by Amari'i Bell by buying 19-year-old prodigy Eddie Clarke from Tranmere and signing the versatile Tommy Spurr on loan from Preston to compete with development squad player Joe Maguire, Barton feels the club could add more competition for that spot.

Barton gave Spurr the nod at left-back in the opening defeat to AFC Wimbledon, then switched right-footed Lewie Coyle to the left for Saturday's 2-0 win at Oxford United .

Town have four players on loan, so have scope to add one more.

Barton has already expressed his desire to add another loan and now has given a clear indication as to the position he is looking at. He said: "We think we are a left-back short."

The Town boss went on to praise Coyle, 22, for his attitude in taking on the new position as the Leeds loan man played his 50th game for the club.

He said: "We feel that if we can upgrade in the left-back slot we will, but Coyley has done superb there on Saturday.

"That is the kind of lad he is because he is a superb team man. It is the reason we brought him back to the football club.

"We had not seen that much of him but everyone spoke so highly about his level of professionalism and commitment to the team, and he showed that on Saturday.

"He did not sulk. He did OK last week at right-back but put the team before himself. He is a pleasure to have."

And Barton explained the reasons why he has not yet handed Clarke a debut or given Maguire the nod.

Having himself risen through the youth ranks at Manchester City before establishing himself as a first-team regular, Barton knows more than most how important it is to nurture youth.

The Town boss, who gave a debut to academy star Nathan Sheron at Oxford, said: "We have got Joe Maguire and Eddie Clarke there but we feel that Ed needs a bit more development.

"He needs to train with us more because he is coming out of an environment from a couple of divisions below.

"Obviously Tranmere came into League Two and he did play in the National League play-off final, which is the top end of that.

"But he still needs to get up to speed and it would help him to work harder on certain things in his game.

"To throw him into a furness of a League One match might send him backwards before you send him forwards.

"We have to be careful how we develop players. It's the same with Billy Crellin, Ged Garner and Harrison Holgate.

"I've seen so many young players get too much too soon and never recover from it. You have to treat everyone with a bespoke plan to get the maximum out of them."