Joey Barton has spoken to the press ahead of Saturday’s trip to the Stadium of Light where Fleetwood Town will face former Premier League side Sunderland.
Barton’s side will be going to the North East unbeaten away from home in Sky Bet League One, meaning the side will be full of confidence ahead of the fixture. Sunderland will be looking forward to this one as well as they have shown a good run of form at home since the start of the season, only losing one.
There was plenty to talk about on Thursday morning, and here are the best quotes from the pre-match press conference.
Barton on Sunderland…
“Saturday will be a very proud moment for this football club, and if you asked Andy Pilley when he started his journey with this football club as Chairman if he would be coming up against Sunderland in front of thirty odd thousand fans, he’d have told you that you were mad!
“When you look at where Fleetwood have come from and how they are progressing still, because there still is a gap between ourselves and Sunderland in size and structure; we will be going there in form and I honestly believe we aren’t a million miles away from them as a team.
“For me it’s another game and as a player, I played in big derby matches and one was against Sunderland and I just see the three points on the line. Just like it was against Bradford last Saturday.
“That is our challenge, we are in the league with some big clubs and Sunderland aren’t the first to club of their size to be in League One with the likes of the two Sheffield teams and Leeds, so we go there with a shot of picking up the points.
“The weirdest thing about it all is that there will be more people in the stadium on Saturday than there will be in Fleetwood, so that’s a novel fact.
“It’s like David and Goliath in terms of finances and the supporters, but on the pitch is where it matters, and I don’t see a David versus Goliath. I think we are slightly better than them!”
Barton on the connection with Newcastle, his team and Jack Ross…
“If people want to create headlines, sub headlines in papers about me, crack on. I am here to focus on my players and how they play on Saturday.
“For me I need to make sure my team is well prepared to go and do what we do best on the pitch and if we do that, I will be a tough game for Sunderland.
“When you’re a player, and at Newcastle, it was a derby between us and them, and for me now it’s just another game and another team in our way trying to stop us where we want to be.
“Three years ago, I played against Sunderland for Burnley in the Premier League and it is scary to think how quickly football can put you in your place if you don’t do things correctly, and Sunderland haven’t done that, but credit to Jack Ross who has got the crowd back and the team winning games.
“It’s not easy to turn things around when things are going badly so he deserved a lot of credit.”
Barton on Wes Burns and the red card…
“It’s a hard one to take for us and when you look back at the different angles, it isn’t a red card and that is as straight forward as it gets.
“I can see why the referee from his angle has made the decision and at the speed it happen it was always running the risk of being one of those orange cards, but having seen it back numerous times, I feel Wes has been harshly treated.
“The fact that he will now miss four games, with three in the league and one being in the Checkatrade, it’s disappointing because he has been playing great and is a real asset to us, however there will now be an opportunity for someone else.”