Joey Barton appeals to Fleetwood players not to hide injuries after Wes Burns' late withdrawal
Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton expressed his frustration at only finding out on Friday that Wes Burns was injured.
It was Town’s fifth successive away defeat in League One and saw them slip into the bottom half of the table.
Barton does not want his players to keep injuries under wraps and urged them to tell him sooner if they are not 100 per cent, so he can alter the game plan.
The Town boss was also frustrated by the amount of time taken for substitute Kyle Dempsey to take the field at Luton to replace the injured James Husband.
Luton scored their first goal during the two minutes between Husband going down with a hamstring injury and Dempsey coming on.
Barton said: “Wes was in the team until after training on Friday, when he decided to tell people he had a tight hamstring.
“From my perspective that is really frustrating because you build a strategy, you build a plan to execute in a tough place and it’s that little bit of professionalism.
“Wes on Friday or Kyle Dempsey on Saturday – you have to be ready for action.
“If you are not ready you have got to let people know early. Don’t try and hide it. We have good players. We can formulate a plan.
“What we cannot have is people trying to keep things under wraps. If you are not quite right you have to tell us.
“We could have come to Luton and got somewhere without a shadow of a doubt but we have to be more savvy on and off the pitch, a little bit more professional at the right times.
“As a manager there is only so much you can do. You can only lead a horse to water.”
Barton withdrew Dempsey in the 66th minute – the second time this season he has replaced a substitute.
Describing the decision as “just tactical”, Barton said after the game: “I spoke to Demps in there. I said it was nothing to do with your performance or the fact it took you a period of time to get on to the pitch.
“We felt we needed to get a bit more attacking flair in there.
“We felt we needed to keep Shez (Nathan Sheron) in there because he was holding the middle of the park.
“Marnes (Dean Marney) was getting on the ball and Holty (Jason Holt) was doing such a good job offensively and defensively with his energy that the substitution was Demps.
“You never want to sub a sub. It has happened twice – I never thought I’d do it in my career but ultimately it was the right thing to do for the team.
“We needed to get Ash Hunter on the pitch because of his creativity.”
Husband’s fellow full-back Lewie Coyle missed the game with a rib injury picked up in last Monday’s FA Cup win at Guiseley.
Barton added: “Hopefully it settles down. On medical advice we could not risk him.”