Joey Barton has praised young duo Barry Baggley and Ryan Rydel after the pair made their league debuts for the club at Walsall on Saturday.
Northern Ireland under 17 international Baggley became the youngest player to represent the club in the EFL, aged just 17 and 57 days. Meanwhile 18-year-old Rydel has impressed within Simon Wiles’ under 18s side over the last 18 months, and has recently signed professional terms at Highbury.
With ten games left of the current Sky Bet League One season, Barton is hoping to give both players more playing time.
“It was nice to get them on the pitch, as I’ve got really high hopes for both Barry and Ryan,” stated Barton.
“We’ve got some good young kids here at Fleetwood, and I’m going to blood them. If we can’t get promoted, which now looks an impossibility, we’ll use the time wisely to find players who are capable to get us out of the division.
“I thought they helped us get more energy in the game. It’s incredible for a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old and they put some of the senior players to shame.
“We will put the young kids in the team, because we know they will show energy and desire to be a footballer. I’m disappointed in some of the seniors because you want to put young players on when we are 2-0 up, rather than 2-0 down, but I felt it was the right time to put them in. They deserve an opportunity, and I thought they both did particularly well.
“At every opportunity our kids have had, they’ve shown they have the desire to be footballers.”
Saturday’s defeat sees Fleetwood tenth in League One, sitting on 48 points, still on six points away from the play-off positions.
“We get the opportunity to put things right at Coventry on Tuesday night,” added Town’s head coach.
“I think we’re at the point now where we can experiment. The second half showing at Walsall was just not good enough, which is disappointing because we gave them the three points – they ran harder and we couldn’t defend set plays.
“Too many of our good players had a poor half in the second half, and you can’t win football matches at this level if you’re not at it for 90 minutes.”