Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton hails Ash Hunter for keeping unbeaten record intact

Ash Hunter in action for Fleetwood at Chorley. Photo credit FTFC
Ash Hunter in action for Fleetwood at Chorley. Photo credit FTFC
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It was a family affair for Fleetwood boss Joey Barton but he hailed striker Ash Hunter for stopping his cousin Josh Wilson’s Chorley side snatching his unbeaten record.

Barton made it seven wins from seven in pre-season as Town fought back from Wilson’s eighth-minute opener as two quick-fire Hunter strikes gave them a 2-1 lead just before the break.

But Barton, who fielded a side littered with first team experience, says Hunter, 22, was one of the only players from the Victory Park clash to push himself into the frame for Saturday’s League One opener with AFC Wimbledon.

Barton said: “It was quite strange when Josh Wilson scored the goal because he is a cousin but he is also like a brother.

“He will no doubt be reminding me of that all week.”

But Barton was pleased with Hunter’s contributions.

He said: “If I’m being honest he is only the player tonight to enhance his options for the weekend.

“I told the lads that the team was not selected for Saturday.

“We had a good performance at the weekend at Morecambe and I said there are still a couple of slots up for selection.

“There was an opportunity for some lads to enhance their claims. They have got to ask themselves, did they do that?

“I think there were one or two for sure but I think it is always surprising when we introduced a load of the 17, 18, 19-year-olds and they actually enhanced the performance.

“A lot of lads have got to go away and reevaluate their application if they are going to be forcing themselves into the first team.

“I know it is a difficult game, it is not a perfect surface but I think for both sides the young kids with 15 minutes to go enhanced their reputations.”

Barton gave a debut to new signing Burnley man Dean Marney, above, but says Jason Holt, who will miss the League One opener through suspension, has a slight ankle knock.

Barton added: “Holty has picked up a bit of a knock, nothing more than an ankle roll and I think it was my cousin who kicked him so he has not helped us out a lot!

“We roll now on to the league campaign and that will bring real focus to our work.”

Town first team duo Ash Eastham and Lewie Coyle will be in the club shop at Highbury tomorrow from 4.30pm-5.30pm for a meet and greet session.

The duo will be helping sell Town’s new season ticket the Onward Card as well as signing autographs and meeting fans.