Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton believes on loan Everton defender Lewis Gibson looked the 'real deal' on his debut for the club.

Before heading out on loan at the end of last week, the Blues confirmed that Gibson had signed a new two-and-a-half-year contract, keeping him at Goodison Park until June 2022.

The centre-half then joined team-mate Callum Connolly at Highbury, after he joined the League One side at the start of January.

The pair both featured in Town’s 1-1 draw with Doncaster Rovers on Saturday afternoon and impressed their new boss.

“Any decent team needs a frontline that gets you goals but I always believe defence wins you championships,” Barton told The Gazette.

“It has been a bone of contention but it does take time to put that together because we don’t have enormous finances to recruit personnel.

“We’ve been tracking Lewis Gibson for a large period because we’ve been looking for a left-footed centre-half.

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“Callum Connolly came in and did a shift for us on the left and did the basics superbly, but we’ve moved him over to his natural side, which releases Coyley (Lewie Coyle) and Wes Burns and allows us to press with a sort of front three.

“Lewis Gibson looked the real deal and handled it superbly, and he’ll come on so much for that.

“Connolly, flipping over to the right side, I think found another gear and was superb.”