Joey Barton signs ex-Blackpool and Burnley keeper Matt Gilks to put pressure on Fleetwood Town number one Alex Cairns

Alex Cairns
Alex Cairns
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Joey Barton says he has signed keeper Matt Gilks to put pressure on Alex Cairns and aid Billy Crellin's development.

Gilks followed fellow 37-year-old Peter Clarke in signing for Town today, giving Town an experienced option after the summer departure of Paul Jones.

Cairns was an ever-present as Town finished 11th last season but Barton doesn't want him to become complacent.

He said: "We just wanted Cairnsy to feel pressure.

"It is important, competition is important in any squad.

"I know Gillo from my time at Burnley and Rangers; a phenomenal professional, great training ethic.

"We have got sitting behind Al and Gillo a potential England number one (Crellin).

"I felt they needed both of them to see someone who has been to the top flight, someone who has still got ambition and a lot to offer.

"The way he trains, I felt was important for them to see.

"We are always looking to add good people and good players to our group, that will not change.

"If there are any out there we will be scouring the market because we have to."

Gilks has missed a chunk of pre-season with injury and Crellin is expected to take a spot on the bench with Cairns number one.

When asked if Gilks' arrival meant a loan move for Crellin, Barton said: "We are keen on his development.

"Gillo coming in first and foremost was to be a first team player and push Alex Cairns.

"We want the best keeper in our building playing on a Saturday.

"Cairnsy knows that, he has taken the challenge on.

"Competition for places does improve players; sometimes you look over your shoulder and say if 'I do not put everything in here then he will take my place.'

"For the younger players we have to be very select about their development.

"Billy has come on so much in a year, it showed when he went into the (friendly) games against Burnley and Preston.

"We feel that the U23s games will be great for him, Checkatrade games will be great for him.

"But there is nothing better as a young goalkeeper than playing every Saturday with the result being important.

"It is about going from being a young player to a senior player's world where the result is important.

"We feel that if Billy gets that, that is the next stage of his development. If that pops up great.

"We won't send him somewhere where we don't think it will aid him.

"We have had a couple of clubs on for him, but at this moment in time, he has been involved in the first team so we have not been able to let him out.

"If that evolves in the next month then we address that.

"At this moment he is in the squad to play Peterborough on Saturday."