Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton says there is no stand-out team in League One this season as his team prepare to host table-topping Portsmouth.
Kenny Jackett’s side saw their lead at the top of the table cut to a single points after they were beaten for only the third time in the league at relegation-battling Gillingham on Boxing Day.
That was their first away defeat of the campaign and they now head to Fleetwood’s Highbury fortress, where Town are unbeaten in seven games and have not conceded in four.
Barton’s team, edged out 1-0 by Pompey at Fratton Park, have now faced every other League One side.
And after completing a double over promotion-chasing Doncaster Rovers two days ago, the Town boss says there is not an obvious candidate to be crowned champions.
With his side 10th on 33 points after nine wins, nine defeats and six draws, Barton says the key to promotion in this division is consistency.
And that is something the head coach is trying to instil in a Fleetwood side that has piled up points at home while losing six successive away games.
He said: “The key for us is finding that level (of consistency)
“This season in League One I do not see there being a standout team that is going to run away with it.
“I know that Portsmouth are top but they lost on Boxing Day at Gillingham.
“I don’t see there being a stand-out team.
“There are some very good sides don’t get me wrong. But there is not one team that makes you go, ‘OK they are going to win the league and everyone else is fighting for second’.
“In essence this league for me has been about who is the most consistent.
“That is who will get promoted and who will get the rewards at the end of the season. We have to strive to get to that.
“To sit at the top of this league, it is not about how good you are on a good day because I think any team in our division is capable of winning games.
“It is about how good you are on a bad day. It is what your level of bad is.
“The teams that sit above us in the table have been more consistent over 24 games.
“You have to respect that and work towards becoming a more consistent unit.
“How do you do that? Time, working on the training ground, getting a settled side and making very shrewd signings when the window allows you to do that.
“We are a team that is building. I will not get too carried away. One result is not something to build a season on.
“We have got to make sure we turn up and are at it for a tough fixture against a table- topping side.
“It is another good test for us, one that we have to be on our mettle to deal with.
“But if we get that consistency we will quickly start to move up the table.”