Joey Barton does not care if his team’s presentation of a Bolton Wanderers shirt to Ched Evans upset the Trotters fans.
The Fleetwood Town boss says it was the players’ way of “breaking the ice” after the deadline-day drama surrounding their loan star from Sheffield United.
Striker Evans was subject to interest from Sunderland and a late loan offer from Bolton ahead of the transfer deadline a week ago.
Evans’ move to Bolton collapsed after Town refused to sign an agreement to cancel his season-long loan deal.
Parent club Sheffield United attempted to activate a 24- hour cancellation clause in Evans’ Fleetwood loan deal last Thursday evening but could not do so without the signed agreement of Town and the player.
But the Highbury club stood firm because they could not find an adequate and affordable replacement at that late hour.
Evans, 30, showed his commitment to the Fleetwood cause by netting his 13th goal of the season to clinch a 1-0 home win over Charlton Athletic on Saturday.
But the striker did get his Wanderers number nine shirt!
Fleetwood Town tweeted a picture of a Bolton shirt with the name ‘Evans’ across the back on the striker’s hanger in the dressing room.
Also in the shot were a Wanderers scarf as well as fellow Fleetwood frontman Paddy Madden’s strip on the next hanger.
Barton says Evans and the rest of the squad found the joke amusing after his near exit.
The Town boss explained: “It was nothing to do with me but obviously the lads thought it would be a good way of breaking the ice... if there was any.
“Obviously they are all aware of what goes on – there are no secrets at football clubs.
“I think the best way to deal with stuff can usually be through that kind of gallows humour.
“The lads thought it would be wise and Ched saw the funny side of it.
“It was good for them and I did chuckle when I saw it.
“I thought he was unplayable in the second half and clearly he has moved on from it.
“It has probably upset loads of Bolton fans but I don’t really care”