Fleetwood Town’s academy is key to the club’s future according to head coach Joey Barton

Dan Mooney was one of the Fleetwood Town youngsters to feature in midweek
Dan Mooney was one of the Fleetwood Town youngsters to feature in midweek
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Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton believes the academy system at Poolfoot Farm will have an important part to play in the long-term sustainability of the club.

The Cod Army used several young players in their Leasing.com Trophy game against Liverpool in midweek.

However, as attention turns back to the league campaign, Barton is still eager to take a long-term view.

“There has to be a succession plan,” he said.

“Hopefully one day we get a good enough team where our players are getting courted by bigger clubs.

“That’s the natural ecosystem that I think would be healthy for a club like Fleetwood Town, so you have to accept that and have plans in place for when that happens.

“A cheap way of doing it, and a more sustainable, more community-based way, is to promote and grow those from within your club’s structure.

“Due to the nature and the size of the football club, everyone lives in each other’s pockets.

“We’re fully aware of all the comings and goings, probably more on the guys that are more based here, the first and second year scholars, the first and second year pros.

“We have lots of conversations on generations that are coming behind that.

“Sustainability is huge for a club like Fleetwood.”

Although it may be cheap in terms of transfer fees, the Town boss understands what goes into having the kind of academy system Fleetwood has.

He said: “That’s the ideology that every club would want to adopt all around the world but it’s very difficult to do, takes a lot of time, a lot of finances, planning and a lot of commitment.

“Our academy is two-and-a-bit years into producing players so it’s very early at its concept; when you think of the likes of Man United, Liverpool and the likes of Crewe, who are a club with a similar footprint to us.

“But they’ve been producing players for a long period of time and have got a lot of experience in that domain.

“In many regards we’re playing catch-up but, on the flipside, we’ve given a lot of debuts. I think I gave 10 or 11 debuts to players under the age of 23 last season.

“Any good young players who don’t think they’re getting an opportunity; if they come to Fleetwood Town, show a real desire to be a player and are able to show just how much they want it, then without a shadow of a doubt you’ll get an opportunity here.”