Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton spoke to the media on Thursday ahead of the upcoming match with league leaders Ipswich Town.
The Cod Army welcome Paul Lambert’s side to Highbury on Saturday, with just four points separating Barton’s side and The Tractor Boys who sit top of League One.
See below the key quotes from Barton’s press conference at Poolfoot Farm.
On the fitness of his squad…
“We’re looking really good and almost at full compliment. Jack Sowerby came through a midweek game against Accrington which was a really good workout for him against a strong side.
“Conor McAleny is back on the grass but this game probably comes a bit too early for him, with Ash Eastham having a little niggle which will keep him out this weekend. He felt a bit of tightness in his calf following the Leasing.com Trophy match, but it’s a matter of days rather than weeks for him.”
On the league table as it stands…
“We can’t get too carried away as it’s only ten games into the season and there’s an awful long way to go. We have to go into a tough winter period where the surfaces change and that can be a huge factor.
“The early part of the season is building on the work done in pre-season and establishing the good principles in the team. We aren’t getting carried away after a decent start and to be honest, I’m a little disappointed we’re not sitting 10-0 because of how dominant we’ve been in the opening ten games.
“I think that we’re still to hit our stride as a team and for the first time this season we got into third gear in the second half at Shrewsbury on Saturday. There’s so much more to come from our team which is exciting.
“It’s a big month coming up as we’re playing teams with promotion ambitions – like us – but the great thing for us is that I know this group of players keep getting better every game, week and month.”
On Saturday’s opponents Ipswich…
“They are everybody’s favourites to win the league and are a huge club in League One. We remain clear in our objectives that we can’t compete with these teams financially, so we’ve got to be a lot smarter with the things that we do.
“It really is David against Goliath on Saturday. We have to be cute and efficient, and get everything out of our club and culture to be up there.
“We believe that if we keep doing what we’re doing, be humble and keep learning, we will get to where we need to be.”
On the Sunderland match being postponed due to international call-ups…
“It’s a strange one because we were really looking forward to the game. At this moment, we’ll be anyone, anywhere at any time.
“Smartly, Sunderland have decided to rearrange the game. If I was in their position and looked at their momentum, our momentum, their team and our team I would have done the same.
“If Joey Barton and Fleetwood rock into town and do what we can do and what we showed last season at home and away, with a group which is nowhere near as strong as it is now, for Jack Ross, we are the last team that you want to face given their situation.
“They have to play us at some time because you have to play everyone twice. It’s smart to avoid us, because they know if they play us now there’s only one outcome.”