Joey Barton hailed the maturity of Nathan Sheron as he sees the breakthrough academy product as an asset to Fleetwood Town.
The 21-year-old became the first player from Town’s category three academy to represent the first team under Barton earlier this term.
He featured in midfield, central defence and at right-back but lost his place after Town’s 2-1 defeat to Plymouth Argyle.
James Wallace stepped in for the 3-0 win over Coventry last time out in League One but a quirk of fate saw Sheron back in the line-up on Monday.
Barton was set to name an unchanged side at Guiseley, only for Wallace to suffer a tight calf in the warm-up.
Sheron reclaimed his spot, impressing alongside Dean Marney, and is expected to keep his shirt for Town’s trip to Luton Town on Saturday.
“I’m not blaming the pitch; it has been rumbling on the last couple of days,” Barton said of Wallace’s absence.
“We have tried to get to the bottom of it. We thought he was fine, but with the pitch being a bit heavier than normal pitches, he felt a little bit of tightness.
“He could have played but we decided we did not want to use him, mainly in case he got injured and was out for a further period.
“Also it would have meant bringing a substitute on earlier than required which could have disrupted us.
“We made a decision to make sure he is fit for the Luton game or the game just beyond that.
“We didn’t want to risk getting him injured, it is not ideal in terms of disruption.
“Credit to Shez; he clearly pays attention when we talk about what we are doing tactically because I thought him and Marns put in a real professional performance.
“It was not a pitch for the most expansive football.
“It was a pitch for a lot of second ball football and a little bit of fight scene.
I thought the two boys coming in there.
“Shez showed that maturity that we know he has got – which is way beyond his years – and the reason he has been a big asset to us.”