Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton spoke to the media on Thursday morning at Poolfoot Farm ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet League One match against Kevin Bond’s Southend United.
Barton’s side have picked up two victories in their last two league fixtures and will be looking to make it three on the bounce for the first time this season – with the play-off places still a possibility for the Cod Army.
Kevin Bond – a former coach at Queens Park Rangers during Barton’s time there – will take reins at the Shrimpers for the first time this weekend, looking to push themselves away from a relegation battle.
Here are the best quotes from Joey Barton’s press conference…
On Southend United and taking it game by game…
“They have some quality performers in their squad and we expect them to be different this time around with the new manager at the helm. We went down to their place earlier in the season and lost so we have a great opportunity to put that right this weekend.
“The focus is on us on Saturday as we are where we are in the league for a reason. It can really give us a boost in our play-off push, however we know it is a long shot. I still don’t think there’s pressure on us because there are sides up there with points on the board. We do have a chance to put that right, we still believe as we are coming into form at the right time.
“The key for us is taking one game at a time and we did that against Plymouth and against Accrington by getting maximum points. We need to go and do the same again this Saturday at our place.”
On the fans at Highbury Stadium…
“It’s good to be back home and back in front of our own fans. We had a fantastic away following at Accrington last weekend, and they were outstanding and gave the lads an extra boost to push up over the line.
“There’s been a lot of talk in the camp this week about how pleased the players were with their support and with the faithful that travelled across for that local derby. Hopefully the fans can re-create that atmosphere at Highbury this Saturday, because the lads have shown that they can up their game to match the fans’ enthusiasm and the passion.
“We will need everyone at full pump if we are going to take full points against Southend.”
On coming up against Kevin Bond…
“Kevin was first team coach at Queens Park Rangers with Harry Redknapp, so I have shared a couple of seasons with him there. He is a really good man, a footballing man and someone who I spent time with discussing the finer details of the game.
“I know what qualities he has, and we will have to be on our metal because Southend have been struggling, but a new manager will give them the maximum chance of staying in this division.
“He has a tough job on his hands, he doesn’t need me to tell him, but he wouldn’t have gone in there if he didn’t think he could get them out. There are twelve teams that are separated by two points and it makes for an exciting end to the season.”