Fleetwood boss Joey Barton insists Ashley Nadesan could push for a first-team place at the League One club when his Carlisle United loan ends.

The striker is set to play his final game for the managerless Blues against Mansfield tomorrow.

United appear resigned to losing Nadesan with speculation that his parent club could look to sell him this month.

Barton, though, says the nine-goal man could still have a future at Highbury.

He will be challenged to compete with ex-United man Paddy Madden and Ched Evans for a place in Fleetwood's front line, with summer signing Chris Long having fallen out of favour.

"We need players in that striker spot," Barton said in The Gazette.

"The whole purpose of sending Ash out was to get him some games because we did not feel there would be with Chris Long coming in.

"But now you can see there is an opportunity for him to push for a first team place.

“He has had a decent run at Carlisle. He comes back in here with a chance of fighting for a first team jersey.”

National League big spenders Salford City were understood to be chasing Nadesan but they recently splashed out on Lincoln's Matt Green.

Other League Two clubs are also believed to have been monitoring the 24-year-old.

United have maintained they would be interested in keeping Nadesan if there was any possibility of an extension to his loan.