Joey Barton and his side welcome Portsmouth to Highbury in their final league match of 2018, with the head coach striving for more consistency moving forward.
Barton – who has seen his side go seven games unbeaten in the league at home – will want to see his players go into the match against the league leaders full of confidence after an impressive 3-0 home win over promotion hopefuls, Doncaster Rovers.
Portsmouth travel to the Fylde Coast after losing 2-0 away at Gillingham on Boxing Day, seeing their lead at the top narrow to just one point, with Luton Town breathing down their necks.
Town’s boss spoke ahead of Saturday’s match, and here is what he had to say…
On finding consistency in the league…
“The key for us is finding that level of consistency. This season in League One I don’t see there being a standout team that is going to run away with it. I know Portsmouth are top, but they lost on Boxing Day at Gillingham.
“There are some very good sides don’t get me wrong, but there is not one team that makes you go, “Ok, they’re going to win it this year”, and for a side to sit at the top of this league, it is not about how good you are on a good day because I think any team in our division is capable of winning games.
“For me it is about how good you are on a bad day. The teams that sit above us in the table have been more consistent over 24 games.”
On not getting carried away after the Doncaster result…
“You have to respect that teams have been consistent, and work towards becoming a more consistent unit. This takes time, work on the training ground, getting a settled side, and making very shrewd signings when the window allows you to do that.
“We are a team that is building and I will not get too carried away - one result is not something to build a season on. We have got to make sure we turn up and are at it for a tough fixture against a table topping side [Portsmouth].
“It is another good test for us, one that we have to be on our mettle to deal with, but if we get that consistency, we will quickly start to move up the table.”