Joey Barton hails Fleetwood's squad strength after Craig Morgan injury

Joey Barton at Sunderland
Joey Barton at Sunderland
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Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton says the club will assess the hamstring injury which forced captain Craig Morgan’s early exit at Sunderland

READ MORE: Joey Barton's match verdict
The centre-half left the field just 23 minutes into Town’s 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light.

Town led at the time through Paddy Madden’s header and have not conceded in any away league game while Morgan has been partnering Ash Eastham at the back. Josh Maya levelled the scores 13 minutes after Morgan’s departure.

Barton praised Tommy Spurr for his performance off the bench as Morgan’s replacement.

Cian Bolger, who did not travel to the north-east, is also in contention for tomorrow’s Checkatrade Trophy opener at home to Leicester U21, while midfielder Nathan Sheron could also play in the back-line.

Barton said of Morgan’s injury: “He felt his hamstring after a minute – the first sprint back.

“Obviously he did well to graft away and let the game settle down. We will assess that and see where he is at.

“He is the skipper, the linchpin of the backline, but I thought Tommy Spurr was outstanding. That is the strength we have got.

“It is disappointing for Morgs because he is a leader but we do have Cian, Tommy and Nathan Sheron. We have got a good squad.

“You are going to get injuries over the course of the season. Hopefully for Morgs it is not so serious and we got to it early.

“You are going to pick them up but we have a squad that can adjust.

“We roll on to Leicester and look forward to that challenge.”

Town had an opportunity to regain the lead from the penalty spot when Adam Matthews was ruled to have felled James Husband.

There was some confusion as striker Ched Evans picked the ball up but Madden eventually took the spot-kick, which Jon McLaughlin saved.

Barton explained: “Paddy is our penalty-taker. Ched grabbed the ball first – I love his confidence.

“He grabbed the ball and wanted to score – Paddy was already on the scoresheet.

“Pads is the penalty-taker. We shouted that on and he got the ball, but it has probably messed with his routine.

“Ched put the ball on the spot. They have had a little bit of words because they are both goalscorers. They both want to score goals, especially in these kind of games.

“I said to the boys in the dressing room that we have processes – believe in them, stick with them.

“If Paddy had put the ball on the spot and started his routine he probably would have scored, but in moments like that you must remain composed.

“You must remain crystal clear in your thinking.

“We kind of got caught up in the occasion of the game and have missed a great opportunity to beat Sunderland for the first time this season on their home turf, and really make everyone sit up and take notice of us.”