Joey Barton: Keeping faith in young Fleetwood players the right thing to do

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Fleetwood Town face another cup trip to Hull in Papa John’s Trophy

Head coach Barton revealed he was determined to stick with his youthful side for Tuesday’s Trophy tie with Blackpool, despite being “desperate to progress and win” after the Seasiders’ League One success at Highbury four days earlier.

Victory on penalties has earned Town a New Year trip to Humberside in the last 16. Fleetwood have already faced Hull twice this season, winning October’s league encounter 4-1 at Highbury before the Tigers gained revenge with a 2-0 FA Cup first-round victory at the KCOM last month.

There’s every chance Barton will again select the young players who have done him proud in the Trophy so far, winning their group with maximum points before eliminating their Fylde coast neighbours.

The Town boss said: “I felt it wasn’t the right thing to do to take the young kids out of the competition just to beat Blackpool because they have earned the right to be here.

“They managed to progress and that adds to their experience.

“James Hill and Morgan Boyes have had a sniff of the first team. Sam Stubbs has played a few and is a bit older, and as a back-three partnership I thought they defended resolutely against Blackpool.

“Ryan Rydel put some great quality into the box and Shayden Morris was tied down by Luke Garbutt a little but he worked hard.

“Jay Matete has had a few first-team appearances and I thought he was solid, Harvey Saunders huffed and puffed with Ched Evans up front and worked tirelessly for the team. So I’m really pleased with the youngsters against some senior campaigners and it will make them better players.

“Competition for places is really stiff at the minute and the young kids are coming thick and fast.

“They train with us every day and we wish we could get them more games. We don’t have a programme of games for them as such, so to see them go out and hold their own is pleasing and a good sign for the future.”

Town’s team in Tuesday’s rematch with Blackpool was sprinkled with senior pros and Barton explained: “It’s about getting balance right.

“Blackpool had a lot of league experience in their team, albeit they made changes too. Senior players are senior players for a reason.

“They have that game knowhow and you don’t want young players to be lambs to the slaughter, so we kept some experienced players in but that was a young team from the perspective of league appearances.”

Barton’s side returns to action at Swindon Town tomorrow after back-to-back 1-0 defeats in League One.

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