Fleetwood Town manager wants to follow Burnley's blueprint for success
Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton wants to use Burnley's Championship success of 2015/16 as a template for his side.
Barton said it took time for Clarets’ manager Sean Dyche to create the continuity which saw them lift the title.
Now, as he takes his eighth-placed side to League One leaders Portsmouth, Barton wants to instil a similar continuity and settled side at Highbury.
Suspensions and injuries blighted a September that saw Town win just once, beating Bradford City 2-1.
After back-to-back defeats at the end of that month Town are unbeaten in October and head to Pompey following wins over Doncaster Rovers and Shrewsbury Town.
Barton made just two enforced changes inbetween those two games with James Husband (hamstring) and Ched Evans (shoulder out), while skipper Craig Morgan and Wes Burns returned.
Barton said: “You always want that (a settled side); we have the likes of Conor McAleny and Dean Marney back out training and in contention.
“Those boys coming back in and the skipper returning from a lay-off is nice.
“The more you have players fit, ready and available to play, that gives you competition for places.
“But, again, the football does tend to sort it out and the team that is playing and is fit will sort it out.
“I’m keen to get continuity into the group because that is one thing we have not had for many reasons.
“I think any good side tends to settle and find its way.
“Looking back at Burnley, it took us until we lost 1-0 to Middlesbrough away, then lost at Hull and then, in January, we went on a 23-game unbeaten stretch and ended up winning the Championship.
“It was a very settled and balanced side.
“It did take a period to find that.
“There were twists and turns in team selection, changes all the way along until we found our strongest XI.
“Then that side rode a wave into the Premier League.”
Evans will be assessed before today’s game as Town seek a third consecutive victory.
“He’s just had an issue with his shoulder that we have had to take care of,” Barton said.
“It would have been a bit of a risk to have played him so soon after the knock because it could have made it a lot worse.
“Thankfully it has settled down.
“He trained with the group on Thursday; we will assess him, see how he is, but he is chomping at the bit.
“But obviously we are coming off the back of two victories.
“You kind of want to get a settled side.”
Some of Town’s first team squad members who are on the fringes at the moment staked their claim by helping the development squad to a 4-0 midweek win against Morecambe.
Marney, Gethin Jones, Kyle Dempsey, Cian Bolger, Eddie Clarke, Harrison Biggins, and Paul Jones joined forces with academy players to earn an emphatic win.
The goals came from Ged Garner (2), Dan Mooney and Jay Metete to leave Barton pleased at what he saw as some fresh competition for places.
“Anybody that you wanted to get a workout out of it got a workout,” he said.
“It is difficult to compare a training ground game against Morecambe to a League One encounter but everyone got what they wanted out of it.
“We won 4-0 and I’m always happy about winning games and not conceding goals, so happy days.”