Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton has compared Accrington Stanley striker Andy Mangan to former United Nations chief Kofi Annan ahead of Saturday’s game between the two sides.
Mangan has a foot in both camps as, in addition to his role with Stanley, he is also Town’s U16 coach.
It was Managan who first planted the seed that would see Barton ultimately become Town’s new head coach, having invited his friend to train with the club in the summer of 2012 while he was in limbo at QPR.
In the end, Barton opted for a sunnier coastal resort in Marseille before making the move to Highbury six years later.
Given Mangan’s association with Saturday’s visitors, Barton joked he had been excluded from Poolfoot Farm and Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy meeting with Leicester City.
Barton said: “He was trying to come to the Leicester game so we just had to make sure that he knew we were playing them on Saturday!
“He’s a good enough professional, he knows the way the game works.
“He has got to be very careful in what he says to us whenever we have conversations because he is a friend and I am surmising he will be the same at their end because he has to remain as impartial as he can.
“He is walking around a little bit like Kofi Annan at the United Nations!
“It will be interesting to see if he plays; once you are in game mode there are no friends in this game.
“It all goes out of the window until after; then you laugh about the shared experiences.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge of it, the match-ups that are on offer on Saturday are good match-ups for us.
“We are looking forward to, again, proving ourselves as a top six side in this division.”
Although Town are unbeaten in six league games, Barton believes last season’s League Two champions will be no mugs.
He said: “We are well aware of what they have done.
“They have made a great start to the League One campaign and it is a club that always overachieves.
“Knowing the Accrington team and watching the footage of them this week, they are a team; that is the greatest compliment I can give them.
“It will be a tough game for us.”