Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton has criticised his Bolton Wanderers counterpart Phil Parkinson following their unsuccessful deadline day bid to sign Ched Evans.
The striker was ready to join Wanderers on Thursday but, with his parent club Sheffield United failing to activate a 24-hour recall clause in his season-long loan deal at Highbury, it needed the Blades, Evans and Town to sign an agreement to end it early.
United and Evans signed the cancellation form but Town stuck to their guns and kept their man.
Barton said: "We have not made a mistake here, it is the other clubs.
"To do Bolton and Ched a favour, Andy (Pilley, chairman) would have cost himself the better part of £400,000-£500,000.
"As a football club we cannot afford to do that. You might be able to if you are in the Championship or Premier League but we cannot do it at Fleetwood.
"Especially not to help Bolton out.
"They would not help us out - clearly. They made the move they made not to help us out.
"The disappointing thing for me is Phil Parkinson did not have anything about him.
"When I see him I will tell him about picking the phone up and being a man about it.
"They tried to do it in the incorrect fashion and that is why they do not have a striker and that is why they will probably get relegated from the Championship.
"When you conduct yourself in the manner that they do, nobody will have any sympathy for them."
Originally, Evans had gone to Sunderland on Wednesday before a deal to join them on a permanent basis collapsed.
Bolton then came in for a loan deal, meaning Town looked for a replacement striker but without paying over the odds as a result.
"A lot of credit goes to Andy Pilley and Steve Curwood (chief executive),” Barton said.
"The experience and knowledge of the chief executive and the chairman were paramount in us keeping hold of Ched Evans.
"When Sunderland were in for Ched, our hands were tied because he is not our player.
"You can understand the parent club wanting to sell the player; as difficult as that was, we were powerless over it.
"The aftermath - once that passed and Sunderland fell out of the race or decided not to go for him at 11pm that evening - is there was no recall option.
"It had gone, they had exhausted that. If anyone is at fault for it going wrong then it is not us.
"We did everything correctly as a football club and even then, at 6pm on deadline day, there was an attempt to get the player out.
"We spoke to the EFL, they confirmed Fleetwood were in the right legally as well as contractually and thus, the madness descended.
"We attempted to get players in at late notice, even though everybody we had spoken about replacing Ched with the night before had signed for somebody or gone off the board.
"We get to Thursday and we did not want to keep a player that would be unhappy.
"So we said to Ched ‘if we find a suitable replacement we will allow you to go.’
"We tried to sign three different players.
"We were quoted a ridiculous amount of money for transfer fee and wages because they knew we were not in the best position.
"We spoke as a team and said ‘we are not prepared to pay over the odds.’
"We have an exceptional chairman and an exceptional chief executive, who have got a real strength and desire for Fleetwood to get better and a desire for us not to be pushed around and bullied by clubs that historically are bigger than us.
"As a young manager my respect for them was already high; it is now tenfold having seeing them operate because most, under that pressure, could have made the wrong decision for the football club."