Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton sat down with the local media on Thursday to preview the opening game of the season against AFC Wimbledon.
Barton’s side host The Dons at Highbury on Saturday, with the 35-year-old
On his first competitive game after winning every game in pre-season…
“All we can do is to prepare the best that we can, and given the fact that we have gone through pre-season unbeaten shows that we have had good preparation.
“The chairman has been fantastic is supporting our vision, because we know it is different to what has gone before. We’ve brought senior players in who have become assets to the football club – they’ve already made an impact with their daily habits around the place. The communication and respect for each other is there, and we have seen that every day.”
On targets for the upcoming season…
“We want to win games of football. We can’t get too carried away because we saw a manager last season sacked after four games, and we had to have the ‘one game at a time philosophy’. We’re focused on Wimbledon on Saturday – yes we have ambitious people at the football club wanting to achieve exciting things at the club – but we have to believe in the process.
“It won’t be doom and gloom if we don’t get what we want on Saturday, because it’s very much a 46 game season. On the flip side of that, football is very much a game of momentum and League One is wide open this season. There’s some massive clubs in the league – some of the capacities of the stadiums are bigger than Fleetwood as a town!”
On the spotlight being on Fleetwood Town and Joey Barton…
“It’s the nature of being in the public profile. I think whichever we dress it up, there is eyes on Fleetwood and I think that’s beneficial for the area and for the football club. We want to continue our successful legacy that has gone on throughout the last years at the club.
“All we can do is prepare superbly, then the score will take care of itself – the mantra is; we either win, or we learn. I’ve carried that with me throughout my whole journey as a footballer.
“There’s a real confidence that we’re doing the right things. I take a saying from Steve Black which is that ‘confidence comes from good preparation’, and I think that’s where we’re at this moment in time.
“We won’t be beaten on Saturday for a lack of preparation, that’s for sure.”
On the difficult job of picking the starting team for Saturday…
“I’ve explained to the lads that if we are to have a successful season we will need the squad. We’ve got 46 league games guaranteed as well as three cup competitions, so there’s a major body of games that have to be played.
“The difficulty for us is that so many players have done well in pre-season, and to whittle that down into a starting 11 and bench will be difficult. We also have to factor in the home-grown player rule into the EFL competitions, so there’s lots of challenges.
“The lads know that they will get the respect they deserve based on their career and output since we have been at the football club.”