Right sort of headaches for Fleetwood boss Joey Barton ahead of Shrewsbury match

Joey Barton is having the best kind of problem as a manager – trying to fit all of Fleetwood Town’s players into his squad.

Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 8:00 am
There was no place for Josh Morris in the Fleetwood squad at Gillingham

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It’s a different headache to the one he had at the start of the campaign, when he was in search of further numbers to bolster his options.

Not only does it make choosing his starting XI a tough job but that difficulty also extends to the rest of his matchday squad.

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Barton said: “We’re finding it hard to pick a bench at the moment which, I think, for a manager is a tough proposition.

“We left Morgan Boyes and Josh Morris out of the squad. Then behind that you’ve got some good players , with Ryan Rydel and Jordan Rossiter coming too.

“Getting to select the XI is hard enough but being able to select the bench is a horrible proposition because everyone is fit and raring to go.

“You never like having fit players not playing football on a Saturday but it’s also a nice proposition because it is creating competition for places. That is running right throughout the group, which is driving performance.”

Town are back in action tonight when they host Shrewsbury Town (7.45pm).

The visitors have lost their last two league games, and while Barton expects a physical encounter he feels it might be survival of the fittest.

He said: “They’re usually in a 4-3-3. They’ve come away from the back three that they were playing for the majority of last season.

“They’ve got some good players – Oliver Norburn, Josh Vela and Leon Clarke going in there.

“We know Charlie Daniels has got a good delivery, so we know they’re going to be a threat from set- plays.

“We should be well versed in that, having come through the examination of Steve Evans and Gillingham, who test you at every dead-ball opportunity.

“They’ll obviously be hurting, having lost at home to Rochdale, and we’ll be in our home stadium again.

“It’s somewhere we look forward to playing all the time. We’ve a good record there and we want to continue that momentum.

“We’re going to have to earn the right to play and physically try to make sure that the opposition feel the fitness levels that we’ve got.

“They’re a fit side. They’ve gone Saturday-Tuesday and so have we. I think the game will be decided on fitness.”

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