Joey Barton has challenged Fleetwood Town’s other attackers to try to keep pace with free-scoring Paddy Madden.
READ MORE: Half-time team-talk did the trick for Fleetwood at Everton
Striker Madden has scored in each of Town’s last three games to take his tally for the season to 14 – despite not being guaranteed a starting spot.
The 29-year-old again came off the bench to find the net against Everton Under-21s in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday.
Barton admits that being named among the substitutes can be frustrating for his top scorer, but the Town boss says Madden has bought into the team ethic with the rest of the squad.
Head coach Barton said: “Paddy just can’t stop scoring at the minute.
“The challenge for the rest of them is to try to catch him up – and Josh Morris is having a go (scoring his seventh against Tranmere last weekend).
“Pad scores when he comes off the bench and also when he starts. Pad’s frustration with myself is that we know how much of an impact he can make off the bench in the last 30 minutes, when defenders are tired.
“We challenged Pad to improve his overall game, his hold-up play and positional play. And credit to him, he has done that.
“He started against Tranmere, and he and Ched have a really nice battle going on.
“There will be occasions when we want to put them together as a partnership because we know how many goals they carry between them .
“The main thing is that the whole team is contributing goals.”
And they are all supporting each other, as Barton was keen to stress.
He added: “We took a lot from Eddie Jones’ comments in the (Rugby) World Cup. It isn’t an 11-man game anymore, with the physical demands and playing as many games as we have to.
“You can’t expect 11 players to play 90 minutes every week. The lads understand.
“Paddy obviously wants to start at Goodison, so does Josh Morris, but we have a group mentality.
“Nobody sulks, nobody moans, and everyone understands that if we are going to get anywhere we will do it as a collective.
“Everyone buys in and puts their personal disappointments to one side.”
And Barton feels that as an attacking force the best is yet to come from his side.
“We have four wins on the spin and we want to keep this momentum going because winning games is a fantastic habit to get into,” he said. “We just look like we’ve got a lot of goals in the side.
“We didn’t play as well as we can against Tranmere or for 45 minutes at Everton, and I still think the best is yet to come from this team.
“We see it on the training ground on a daily basis, and the minute we start to really believe we’ll start to make huge progress.
“Some of the attacking football is great to watch and there were moments when the counter-attack was sensational.
“The onus is on us as a coaching group and a playing staff to produce that more often.”