Fleetwood Town predecessor is set to keep Joey Barton guessing

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Joey Barton: Keeping faith in young Fleetwood players the right thing to do

He told The Gazette: “I’ve watched them. They played 5-4-1 at Gillingham, they played 4-4-2 at Crewe. I don’t know what to expect.

“I asked the lads here about John Sheridan and they said he kind of makes it up as he goes along. He decides after watching.

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Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton Picture: Matt Wilkinson/PRiME Media Images Limited

“I’m not going to second guess them, we’re going to do what we’re going to do and if we do that, we’re a force for anyone in the division.

“We need to focus on us. No disrespect to Swindon, but if we get right what we think we can get right then we’re more than a match for anybody.

“It’s a chance for us to get back to winning ways. We’re three points outside the play-offs and we need to make sure we remain in contact with that promotion and title-chasing pack.

“As we found out last year, you need to be there or thereabouts come January or February, and then the wheat and chaff start separating.

“It’s a tough, relentless campaign, League One, there’s going to be ups and downs.

“You go through spells of great football, spells of having to grind it out, spells of difficulty.”

This afternoon’s match will be the first game with supporters that Fleetwood have played this season with Swindon having been placed in tier two of the post-lockdown system.

Barton welcomed the return of fans and looks forward to seeing the Town faithful back at Highbury.

He said: “You want to see stadiums full, that’s football for all of us.

“That can work for and against you having fans in, them returning doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all rosy.

“For us, they make the atmosphere. They can drive players on, they can stimulate an extra few per cent from the players from cheering or demanding or booing, whatever it is.

“All the games have been like training ground games.

“There’s a weird atmosphere, you’ve seen it with some of the results and the home and away bias seems to have been blown out by fans not being in the stadium.

“Saturday will be the first game with fans in for a long time for us and then hopefully, soon after that, we can get fans back in our stadium.”

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