Joey Barton spoke to the media at Poolfoot Farm on Thursday morning ahead of this Saturday’s trip to Oakwell to take on promotion-chasing Barnsley in Sky Bet League One.
The Cod Army will be looking extend their good record in Yorkshire this season – having already recorded away victories over Doncaster Rovers and Bradford City.
Another win on Saturday could see Town rise as high as eighth in the League One table as we approach the end of the season.
Here are some of the best of the quotes from Joey’s press conference…
On the threat that Barnsley pose…
“They are one of the top sides in the division. We gave a good account of ourselves in the game at home, and 3-1 was probably fortunate for them. They were a physical and powerful side but we were right in that game. Barnsley have come down from the Championship, and it is no surprise to see them in the position that they are.
“They have many strengths, but like any team, they do have a vulnerability to them. We have to be 100% going there, we cannot be flaky in any fashion. The league table at this stage of the season doesn’t lie and I just hope we go there and give a really good account of ourselves. If we do that, it should be a fantastic game.”
On the squad and the impact of players off the bench…
“Jack Sowerby came off in the Southend game, so he is going to be a doubt for the remainder of the season with a tight hamstring. Biggo [Harrison Biggins] had a bang on the foot, he had an X-ray this week. There is no fracture, but he has got a bit of bruising. Apart from that everybody is moving along nicely.
“It is never easy to pick a side here because even when we have won, and you want to pick a consistent side, there have cameos off the bench. That is the most pleasing thing for me, the bench has started to make an impact.
“In the first half of the season, the bench did not make as a big an impact. All of sudden we have got people realising that being on the bench isn’t a punishment. Being on the bench is because tactically we have got a plan to start the game. They aren’t substitutes, but finishers. It has been a real mindset shift.”
On Wes Burns’ contract extension…
“He has become an important pillar in our team.
“When I came into the club Wes looked a little bit short of self-belief and confidence. You could see the ability that he had by working with him in pre-season. I remember sitting down with him and having quite an open and honest dialogue about where he was, and credit to him because he has embraced that conversation and put his words into action.
“For me, if you speak to anyone at most football clubs, people tend to tell you the right things, if you ask them about what they want to do, and they come up with good answers. The problem is that usually do not show that with their actions. But to be fair to Wes, he has done it.
“He has been one of our main players this season, in multiple positions. And he is someone that the fans have really taken to as a player that excites them. Whenever he is on the team sheet his level of performance has been excellent. Obviously, we wanted to reward him for that and keep him part of our club. It is nice for us to secure key players.”