Joey Barton felt most players involved in Fleetwood Town’s 5-2 EFL Trophy win over Oldham Athletic on Wednesday enhanced their reputations.
READ MORE: Fleetwood cruise into knockout stages with 5-2 win over Oldham
Barton made seven changes to the starting 11 from Sunday’s FA Cup win at Barnet but still Town raced into a 3-0 lead in 14 minutes and comfortably booked their place in Saturday’s draw for the first knockout round.
There was a headline-grabbing debut off the bench for Cian Hayes – Town’s youngest-ever first-team player at 16 years and 145 days – and a first start for full-back Macauley Southam-Hales.
Town had five different scorers – Peter Clarke, Josh Morris, Jack Sowerby, Wes Burns and Paddy Madden – though after being 4-1 up at half-time and adding a fifth seven minutes into the second half, Barton sounded a little frustrated that his side didn’t score even more.
Town’s head coach said: “It’s always nice to win games of course. I picked a side I thought was strong enough to win because I knew it was either us or Oldham who would progress in the competition.
“I still made a load of changes from the side that won in the FA Cup because I felt certain people needed an opportunity.
“In the end most of the players enhanced their credentials and showed me that they want to try and get in that starting XI for the next fixture against Tranmere Rovers (a week on Saturday).
“I still feel we were capable of scoring a lot more goals on the night.
“We were a little bit wasteful at times, especially in the second half, and that wasn’t just the younger players – it was the more senior players too, which was a bit disappointing. We got a little bit sloppy.
“Maybe we got a little complacent. But Oldham had picked a relatively strong side, and they’re a proud footballing team who had quite a lot of fans here supporting them.
“I was disappointed with the manner in which we finished the game, but once we had got that commanding lead it wasn’t really in doubt.
“I was pleased we’ve kept that young development process going, though.
“That’s what we’ve used this competition for in previous years, but we did have to put a serious enough side out to beat a decent League Two team relatively easy.”
The draw for the last 32 is again regionalised and Town, who finished runners-up in their group to Accrington Stanley, will be away to one of the seven other northern group winners.
The draw can be seen on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday programme from 2pm.