Gethin Jones in from the cold at Fleetwood Town

Fleetwood Town assistant boss Clint Hill expects Gethin Jones to return to the first team fold on Monday.

Friday, 23rd November 2018, 4:59 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd November 2018, 5:04 pm
Fleetwood Town's Gethin Jones

Full-back Jones and forward Chris Long were sent to join midfielder Bobby Grant in training with the club’s Under-18 squad this week after head coach Joey Barton was unhappy with their efforts in the Checkatrade Trophy defeat at Bury.

But while Grant and Long remain out of favour with boss Barton and are expected to leave the club, Jones will rejoin the senior squad next week and Hill says he is a vital member of the group.

Barton’s number two said: “I think that will be sorted out on Monday. Gethin went away with the lads last weekend (for a break in Dublin) and he is a good lad, a vital part of the team and I’m sure that will get sorted out in the next few days.

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“I think the gaffer has said everything else on that but I expect Gethin to be back in.”

And Hill cites Ash Eastham as an example of to how to respond when out of the side.

Town’s vice-captain was left out for the opening-day defeat to AFC Wimbledon but returned for the next game, the 2-0 win over Oxford, and has kept the shirt ever since.

Eastham this week penned a new deal that will keep him at the club until 2021.

And Hill, who also played centre-half before joining Barton’s coaching staff in the summer, says Eastham is a natural leader who drives standards.

He said: “I’ve been there myself. It is hard to be out of the team when you think you should be in it but there is only one way to respond – that is to work hard.

“It sounds easy but that is the only way. Show no disappointment, work hard, prove to people that they are wrong not to play you.

“Ash Eastham has done that. He has been brilliant. From the first day we came in he has responded well.

“He did not play the first game and he took that knock really well. He is a vital cog in what we are trying to achieve.”

Competition for places in defence is hotting up, with skipper Craig Morgan back after illness to battle it out with Cian Bolger to partner Eastham. Hill added: “Craig is doing OK. He’s had a bug that has been flying around.

“He has trained the last few days and is looking good. Hopefully we have a clean bill of health.”

A healthy squad means some players will not make it on to the coach to Plymouth and Hill says the staff have to be honest with them.

He said: “We have got a big squad. The hardest bit of the job is telling lads they won’t be involved or won’t travel. All we can do is give our reasons face to face but the lads have responded brilliantly.”