Joe Barton believes his Fleetwood Town forwards are proving their worth this season.
READ MORE: Joey Barton assault trial set for summer
Striker Paddy Madden has been nominated for League One’s player of the month award, having scored four goals in his three starts last month, and has 11 goals for the season.
Strike partner Ched Evans has chipped in with five so far and Josh Morris has four.
Barton thinks scoring regularly is the most difficult task in the game.
He said: “That’s the hardest thing to do in football – put the ball in the back of the net.
“On the whole it’s the hardest part of the game.
“It’s why you pay what you pay for the top-level strikers who put the ball in the back of the net.
“We changed it up (at Bolton on Saturday, when Town lost 2-1).
“Josh Morris came on and got a goal, I thought Ash Hunter looked lively when he came on.
“The lads who came off (Wes Burns and Madden) were disappointed but you can’t play like we did and have the lads on the bench sit and watch.”
Barton (pictured) wants to see his players battle it out for the starting shirts and added: “We’ve got competition for places in the squad.
“I feel now some of them need to be given opportunities to go out and cement that.
“Let them fight it out. Our team doesn’t pick itself.
“I need to have a long, hard look before Barnet (in the FA Cup on Sunday) because if we’re not careful and give goals away we could get dumped out.
“Hard work, loads to do but it’s no problem.
“I’m gutted for the fans because that was probably our best away following in my time here. It’s disappointing for them because they’ve come in their numbers to support us. We’ve had a go second half but unfortunately we haven’t won a game.
Barton’s trial for assault is not set to take place until the season is over.
The Town boss attended a hearing at Sheffield Crown court yesterday, when a provisional trial date of June 1 was set. See page seven.
Fleetwood Town won through to the third round of the FA Youth cup with a 3-0 win away to Walsall. Carl Johnston, James Hill and Ben Thompson scored the goals at Banks’s Stadium.