Joey Barton explains why he had to give keeper Matt Gilks his Fleetwood Town debut against Wycombe

Joey Barton, with Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth at Highbury, has yet to keep a clean sheet this season although debutant keeper Matt Gilks was in sparkling form
Joey Barton, with Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth at Highbury, has yet to keep a clean sheet this season although debutant keeper Matt Gilks was in sparkling form
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Fleetwood boss Joey Barton explained why he dropped Alex Cairns in favour of ex-Burnley and Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks for the draw with Wycombe.

READ MORE: League One has descended into farce over Bolton and Bury says Barton
Cairns, 26, had been an ever-present in Town’s previous 50 games but Barton opted to make a change for Tuesday’s 1-1 draw.

Barton brought Gilks in on a free transfer just before the League One season started.

After conceding six goals in the opening four games, the head coach called up the former Scotland international in search of a clean sheet only to see his side fall behind to Adebayo Akinfenwa’s 56th- minute header.

But Gilks’ saves from Alex Samuel and Darius Charles helped to keep Town in the hunt until Paddy Madden netted his 100th EFL goal in the 89th minute.

However, Gilks injured a shoulder in the game, meaning Cairns could be recalled to face Accrington Stanley on Saturday if the 37-year-old does not recover.

Barton said: “I love Al. He’s a great keeper but we have competition for places.

“If this was a centre-half we would not be having this conversation. Because it is keeper for keeper, you kind of go, ‘Oh’.

“But Gilo has played in the Premier League. He is a top- level keeper.

“We want competition for places. That is why Gilo has been brought in.

“When we concede six goals in four games I have to shuffle the pack. I have to give Gilo a chance because if I was sitting there as the other keeper I’d be thinking, ‘When am I getting my go?’

“I hope he is all right because he looked like he did a bit of damage to his shoulder, so Cairnsy might be back in on Saturday.

“But if Gilo plays like that and Cairnsy can get back in front of him, then we will have a great battle for the goalkeeping spot.

“I don’t want to change goalkeepers. I know under Uwe Rolser there was a bit of flip-flopping between Cairnsy and (Chris) Neal. I don’t want that – I want a number one.

“For me Gilo was outstanding. I know Wes Burns got man of the match but Gilo’s couple of saves at key moments kept us in it.

“It gave us the platform to get that goal and get a point that will be valuable in May.”

And that point could be priceless in a league Barton describes as “mega-tight”.

He added: “Look at the league table – everyone is beating everyone.

“This is League One, and we have to stay in there and keep that points total ticking over.”