AFTER coming under fire from several quarters this season, Phil Parkinson has brushed off criticism from Fleetwood manager Joey Barton.

The controversial figure heading the Cod Army’s League One campaign delivered a damning verdict on Wanderers and their boss in their – ultimately failed – bid to recruit Ched Evans on loan from Sheffield United.

“To do Bolton and Ched a favour, would have cost the better part of £400,000 to £500,000,” said Barton in the wake of Wanderers’ 11th-hour attempt to cash in on Sunderland pulling out of a deal on deadline day.

“As a football club we cannot afford to do that. You might be able to if you are in the Championship or Premier League but we cannot do it, especially not to help Bolton out. They would not help us out – clearly. They made the move they made not to help us out.

“The disappointing thing for me is Phil Parkinson did not have anything about him. When I see him I will tell him about picking the phone up and being a man about it.

“They tried to do it in the incorrect fashion and that is why they do not have a striker and that is why they will probably get relegated.”

However, while Parkinson refuses to get drawn into a war of words with Barton, he is adamant they went through the proper channels in their chase to secure the services of a striker who netted his 13th goal of the season against Charlton last Saturday.

“Someone sent me the quotes and the simple response to that is that Sheffield United gave us permission to speak to Ched, who was going to go to Sunderland then diverted across to us to have talks, and that was it,” he said.

“They were expecting Fleetwood to sign an agreement and it was absolutely their prerogative not to do it so I’m not sure what we did wrong, or I did wrong, in that particular process. We just put the calls in to the correct people and got permission to speak to the player. I wish Fleetwood and Ched good luck and I hope they finish the season strongly.”

Parkinson said the club’s scouring of the free agency market continues but added: “We’re looking but there’s a very limited pool of players who are anywhere near fit enough and good enough to join the squad.

“It’s different when you’re in the lower divisions when players are there that you can probably get by with but this is the Championship, you need players who have good quality.”