Fleetwood Town boss ready for Valley return

Kyle Dempsey needed stitches after the Rochdale game and was not risked at Scunthorpe
Kyle Dempsey needed stitches after the Rochdale game and was not risked at Scunthorpe

Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton has fond memories of The Valley, having won the Championship title there with Burnley in 2016, though he is still not a happy chap over the EFL’s decision not to give the Clarets the trophy that day.

The Football League took the trophy to Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium instead, even though it would have taken a surprise set of results for Boro to claim top spot.

Burnley sealed the title with a 3-0 win over the relegated Addicks and the players lifted an inflatable trophy in front of the away end.

Now Barton is looking forward to pitting his wits against another former Premier League pro in Lee Bowyer at Charlton tomorrow.

Barton’s men head to London in form after a 5-0 victory at Scunthorpe on Wednesday.

He said of their opponents: “They are a top side in the division, a side that will be starting the season thinking about getting promoted.

“It is a big club. They have played in the Premier League.

“My last visit to Charlton was winning the title for Burnley, although we never got the trophy – it was at Middlesbrough for some reason!

“Lee Bowyer is the manager and I’ve played against him a few times. If his side are anything like him, then we know we are in for a real tough encounter.

“We head there full of confidence, wanting to give a good account of ourselves.

“If you had said to (Town chairman) Andy Pilley six or eight years ago he’d be playing against Charlton in the league ...

“We go there expecting to give a good performance and hoping to deliver.”

Barton explained the injury to Kyle Dempsey (knee) and omissions of Gethin Jones and Cian Bolger from the squad at Scuntorpe.

He said: “Kyle picked up a bad injury on Saturday – studs on top of his knee – which meant he had to have stitches. Had he played on Wednesday he would have re-opened the wound. He wanted to play – as is his character – but the positioning (of the injury) meant it would be dangerous.

“If he had pulled it again and torn the stitches, he probably would have missed a lot longer period.

“We brought a left-footed left-back in (James Husband) and Geth is unfortunate. Cian Bolger has had a family bereavement and has gone back to Ireland.

“We have a good squad but I know we can rely on them when called upon.

“They are training at a good standard. When you train at that level there is a good chance you play at that level. We have to recover properly and make sure we are fit for another tough fixture at The Valley.