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Roker Roundup: Fleetwood manager Joey Barton discusses Sunderland’s failed bid for Ched Evans

Sunderland’s mad deadline day scramble led to them bidding on everyone and anyone - including Fleetwood town striker Ched Evans who, according to his manager Joey Barton, could well have left the Lancashire club.

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Deadline day fallout

As Sunderland were frustrated in their efforts to sign Will Grigg from Wigan Athletic, they were looking around for alternatives to make sure the window did not close without a new striker coming in.

Although Grigg would eventually sign for a League One record transfer fee, Sunderland apparently chased Coventry City striker Jonson Clarke-Harris, who eventually ended up at Bristol Rovers.

That is according to Sky Blues boss Mark Robins who explained that Sunderland, Portsmouth and Fleetwood Town all tried to sign the striker:

There was Fleetwood, there was Sunderland and there was Portsmouth early on.

I have no idea what happened.

I was told Portsmouth and Sunderland were going to make a bid so then you think what that will look like, and can we do something ourselves off the back of it. But we have had limited time to do it.

But it just came at the end of play that Tommy Widdrington [City’s former head of recruitment] rang Dave Boddy and expressed Bristol Rovers’ interest and that was done in a short space of time.

Jonno was in Rotherham and drove down and got the paper work done at quarter to eleven last night, so it was a close one.

Yesterday morning he wasn’t going anywhere. It just unfolded over the day.

Robins revealed that Clarke-Harris has earned himself a lucrative deal at the Memorial Stadium that sets him up in life.

I couldn’t stand in Jonno’s way either because of the contract that he’s earned, which is outstanding for him and allows him to develop his life off the field as well,” he said.

It’s a deal that sets him up.

Oxford United v Coventry City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

As well as Clarke-Harris, Fleetwood’s on-loan Sheffield United Ched Evans was also linked with a move to the Stadium of Light before Jack Ross decided not to pursue the deal [as revealed by Stewart Donald on the Roker Rapport podcast, which you can listen to HERE].

Fleetwood boss Joey Barton said his club’s hands were tied when Sunderland showed interest in his player but assured the striker they would have let him go, even though they had no luck finding a replacement at such short notice:

A lot of credit goes to Andy Pilley and Steve Curwood [chief executive].

The experience and knowledge of the chief executive and the chairman were paramount in us keeping hold of Ched Evans.

When Sunderland were in for Ched, our hands were tied because he is not our player.

You can understand the parent club wanting to sell the player; as difficult as that was, we were powerless over it.

The aftermath - once that passed and Sunderland fell out of the race or decided not to go for him at 11pm that evening - is there was no recall option.

It had gone, they had exhausted that. If anyone is at fault for it going wrong then it is not us.

We did everything correctly as a football club and even then, at 6pm on deadline day, there was an attempt to get the player out.

We spoke to the EFL, they confirmed Fleetwood were in the right legally as well as contractually and thus, the madness descended.

We attempted to get players in at late notice, even though everybody we had spoken about replacing Ched with the night before had signed for somebody or gone off the board.

We get to Thursday and we did not want to keep a player that would be unhappy.

So we said to Ched ‘if we find a suitable replacement we will allow you to go.’

We tried to sign three different players.

We were quoted a ridiculous amount of money for transfer fee and wages because they knew we were not in the best position.

We spoke as a team and said ‘we are not prepared to pay over the odds.’

We have an exceptional chairman and an exceptional chief executive, who have got a real strength and desire for Fleetwood to get better and a desire for us not to be pushed around and bullied by clubs that historically are bigger than us.

As a young manager my respect for them was already high; it is now tenfold having seeing them operate because most, under that pressure, could have made the wrong decision for the football club.

AFC Wimbledon v Fleetwood Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

Yet another striker linked with Sunderland, Gillingham’s Tom Eaves remained at the Priestfield and the Gills boss Steve Lovell was praying the player who was the subject of at least one deadline day bid from a League One club would remain with his club past deadline day:

I was just keeping my fingers crossed that come 11pm (on Thursday) that Tom would still be with us.

You are always tempted but at the end of the day we didn’t have to (sell) and we didn’t want to.

I wanted Tom to stay, the club wanted Tom to stay.

The interest that was there didn’t matter because we wanted him to stay and sometimes it is harder if you let someone go because you still have to replace them.

Tom has scored 16 goals this season and he means the world to us, I love him to bits.

He is a great pro, he is great to be around, he works hard and he got his reward for the work he put in.

He will get more goals between now and the end of the season.

It hasn’t been easy for him with all the speculation that has been around him but he has been nothing but professional.

He has worked hard every day, he loves it here at this football club.

I am really pleased and I am sure the supporters are (too) that he is here until the end of the season.

Gillingham v Cardiff City - FA Cup Third Round Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images

French youngster linked

Sunderland have been linked with a move for Adam Boujamaa, an attacking midfielder for French club Beziers.

France Football claim that the 20-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and is the subject of offers from clubs in the Championship and League One, with Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland interested in signing him.

Boujamaa previously had a spell with Guingamp, the Ligue 1 side where Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong currently ply their trade.

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