Joey Barton wants Fleetwood players to fight for their lives in 4-3-3 formation

Joey Barton had to sit in the stands for Fleetwood's last two matches following a touchline ban
Joey Barton had to sit in the stands for Fleetwood's last two matches following a touchline ban
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Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton says his 4-3-3 system is here to stay and he challenged his players to fit into it if they want to stay at the club.

READ MORE Joey Barton: No more excuses for players' mistakes
Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Oxford United saw Barton’s 10th-placed team switch from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3, the formation he says he wants to play from now on as Town prepare to travel to Rochdale this weekend.

The head coach said: “The key for me is how do we progress and move forward. We changed system on Saturday.

“This is how we will be playing going forward. I think it is the correct way to play.

“It is the way I’ve wanted to play since I walked in the building. We have not had the personnel to do it, so we adjusted for individuals.

“The Wimbledon game (Town’s FA Cup defeat 10 days ago) was a watershed moment for me. I’m not going to go with the individual because they are too inconsistent and keep letting us down, so we are going to fix a system and lock that in between now and the end of the season.

“Players have the opportunity to fight for their lives at this club and fit themselves into it.

“Find a slot, and if they don’t they will move on and we will find players, whether they are in the academy or elsewhere, who will fit the system and make us successful.”

Some of those youngsters got minutes for Town’s development squad in Monday’s 1-0 defeat to Burnley in the Lancashire Cup.

Senior players Cian Bolger and Gethin Jones got minutes under their belts in a youthful team.

Bolger unfortunately scored the only goal in the wrong net.

Jones has not featured in a first-team squad since he was brought off at half-time in November’s Checkatrade Trophy defeat at Bury.

He has been training with the Under-18 squad ever since, while Bolger was excluded from Barton’s last two first-team squads.

Midfielder Michael Donohue, who has spent time on loan at FC United of National League North, has had his Town contract terminated by mutual agreement.