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Barton relishing chance to make FA Cup history

Boss looks ahead to Saturday's tie with AFC Wimbledon

4 January 2019

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Joey Barton and his side welcome AFC Wimbledon to Highbury on Saturday as the club look to reach the Emirates FA Cup fourth round for the first time.

The Cod Army could enter the history books if they beat the Dons and progress, with this year’s run in the competition equalling the best ever progress the club has made.

Town’s boss spoke ahead of Saturday’s match in his pre-match press conference at Poolfoot Farm. See below his key quotes…

On the tie…

“Since Wally Downes [new AFC Wimbledon manager] has been there, they’ve been solid. They will be organised, competitive and aggressive, and we know that we will have to be on our metal to deal with it.

“It’s a tie that if you don’t get a Man United or a Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham or someone in the Third Round then you want a game at home, we’ve got that. You want a game at home that you’ve got a competitive chance of winning, we’ve got that.

“The Christmas period for me has been a really good period, we beat a very good Doncaster side and I think we wouldn’t have got beat by Portsmouth – we were in the ascendency when we went down to ten. I’m not saying we would have won the game, but I don’t think we’d have lost the game.

“It’s an opportunity for us, with the influence of our fans, to really put in a good performance. I think if we reach our level of performance, we’ve proven we are more than a match for anybody in our division.

“It’s FA Cup football, so the league table goes out the window and I’m just really looking forwards to a game in front of our fans, knowing how good we’ve been in recent weeks.”

On team selection and team news…

“We’ve just got the bodies in terms of the Christmas schedule, managing the more senior statesmen within the group, making sure they’re ok.

“We feel like we will be absolutely fine, we’ve done what we think is best by them in terms of the recovery protocols and the strategy in and around that in trying to keep them as fresh.

“It’s purely psychological, every player loves playing football, so we’ll be absolutely fine.”

On James Husband’s loan extension…

“Obviously the key for us is the loan market because clubs like us need to utilise it and utilise it really well in order to strengthen the squad.

“To find good quality left backs at this level is very difficult, and he’s come in and bought into the group and he knows the structure and the system quite well, so we are obviously delighted to keep him here.

“Over the course of January, it will be key, if we do shuffle the pack, that we get the right type of people in here.”

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