Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton has earned the respect of Walsall boss Dean Keates for starting his managerial career in the third tier of English football to build his reputation.
Keates took charge at his hometown club Walsall last season, and as the two sides prepare to meet tomorrow at Highbury the 40-year-old praised ex-Premier League star Barton for throwing himself in at the deep end.
This managerial role is Barton’s first taste of League One, having played in the top tiers in England, Scotland and France before hanging up his boots.
And Keates respects Barton’s decision to start out on the Fylde coast.
He said: “He comes with his own profile but he has put himself in at the deep end.
“He has started lower down and wants to build his reputation.
“I give him a lot of respect for that.”
And Keates says Barton has made some big signings this summer, with ex-Championship and Premier League players Ross Wallace and Ryan Taylor among those joining him at Town.
Keates said: “They are going to be no different to what you get every week in this division. It’s going to be a difficult game.
“They have made some big signings. They are a club that wants to go forward.
“They are looking to put a run together. They are two points behind us but we are going there to get three points.”
The lunchtime Highbury clash will be televised but Keates sees it as being no different to a normal game.
He said: “As a player it shouldn’t make one bit of difference if I’m honest. I wouldn’t expect it to make any difference.
“It’s a game and we have to go and do our best to win it.
“We will see what happens on the day but just because it’s on Sky I expect no difference from my players.
“It’s going to be a competitive football game and both teams will have a go.”