Barton not ruling out new managerial appointment at Bristol Rovers before Fleetwood clash

Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton
Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton

Joey Barton is not ruling out managerless opponents Bristol Rovers having a new man at the helm by 3pm tomorrow.

Rovers sacked Darrell Clarke this week and sit second-bottom in League One.

Some could see this as a timely opportunity for Town to end their five-match league losing run on the road.

But Barton is expecting to a dangerous opponent, with players out to impress a new boss who could be looking on.

He said: “We have still at least 30 hours until kick-off and an hour is a long time in football, so they could well have a new appointment.

“He probably will not be able to get his full message across but I think we face a dangerous animal.

“A team with a manager on a poor run of form is a lot easier to play against than a team with no manager who think a new manager could be watching. They are playing for their careers.

“It is not like the Premier League, where lads sign four or five-year multi-million pound deals and don’t have to fear for their next contract, or don’t live deal to deal like they do at this level.

“We know we are going to face a difficult task. It is not great seeing any manager lose their job, but when a manager is on the ropes you kind of hope you play them before they decide to make a change.

“Bristol have done that and gave a really good account of themselves at Sunderland.”

Barton will be focusing on his own team’s strengths.

With eight-goal Ched Evans and 10-goal Paddy Madden (right) in his ranks, Barton says his team has the ability to beat anyone.

He said: “We’ve been good enough to blow a few sides out the water, but on the whole every game has had a real physical edge and closeness to it. If you look at the Coventry game (which Town won 3-0 last month) it looks like we’ve blown them out.

“But Alex Cairns made a couple of saves at 0-0 and it was a close encounter. We got our noses in front and went on to win it.

“The flipside of that is at Gillingham. They get their noses in front, take their chances and we lose 3-0. That is League One.

“We beat Doncaster 4-0 but that came down to which team took their chances and we were really efficient.

“While you have two good goalscorers, like Ched Evans and Paddy Madden, you have always got a chance of winning any game in this division.

“We have to focus on our strengths. That has been the key take-out from this week from me.

“Focusing on what we are going to do because it is hard to predict what Bristol will do, given the uncertainty around who is their leader. They are a wounded animal, so we focus on what we are doing.

“If we do what we can do well, we have shown teams we can cause them lots of problems.”