Teenage forward Dan Mooney has extended his contract with Fleetwood Town and boss Joey Barton says he has worked hard to heal a disconnect between the club’s academy and first team.
READ MORE: Mooney commits to Fleetwood for next season
Mooney, 19, is the latest Town academy product to make his EFL debut under Barton, following Nathan Sheron, Ged Garner, Barry Baggley, Ryan Rydel and James Hill.
January signing Macauley Southam-Hales and Mooney came off the bench at Wycombe for their debuts on the final day of the season.
Mooney’s contract has been extended to cover next season and Barton believes investing in youth is key to Town’s success.
He said of the club’s youth set-up: “They train with us all the time. When I came to the club there was a big disconnect between the first team and the academy. You did not even see them.
“Now six or seven players under 21 have played a number of games for us. That speaks a lot about the lifeblood of our club.
“That excites you going forward. We have a lot of work to do because we have to nurture them.
“I said to them in the dressing room, ‘Many of you have had a taste of it’. That gives them that bit of hunger to go away over the summer and push the more established players.
“That is the culture we are trying to build because we can’t outspend Sunderland, Portsmouth and those kind of teams.
“If you are a young player who thinks you can make it and wants to be in a successful environment, then Fleetwood is the place for you.
“I don’t think there are any managers at our level, certainly at not the level above, who have blooded as many young players as we have.”
Senior professionals Ross Wallace and Ashley Nadesan have also been offered new deals but are yet to sign.