Fleetwood Town’s new way of shaping up?

New Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton takes his first pre-season training session
New Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton takes his first pre-season training session

Joey Barton has given an insight into what Fleetwood Town fans can expect from his side as they prepare to commence their pre-season matches on Friday night.

They will go to face a Salford City team headed by former Town manager Graham Alexander and featuring other familiar faces such as Nathan Pond and Chris Neal.

Barton is keen to play with wide men and a flat back four, initially favouring a 4-3-3 formation.

The former Burnley and Manchester City midfielder has a full pre-season to pick and perfect his starting line-up for his first game as a manager when Town host AFC Wimbledon on August 4.

That opening game of the season will be Barton’s first in the dugout at Highbury with Alfie Boe’s concert having delayed pitch renovations.

Town had received offers from Premier League and Championship sides for home friendlies over the summer but they had to turn them down because of the delay in the relaying of the pitch.

It means that, following the trip to Salford, Town head to Hungary before going to League Two side Tranmere Rovers, managed by another former Town boss in Micky Mellon, on July 21.

Seven days later sees them at the Globe Arena to face Morecambe before going to Chorley on Monday, July 31.

In terms of Town’s possible line-up, Barton cited Pond’s departure as one of the reasons why he would like to play with a back four instead of the three utilised under both Uwe Rosler and John Sheridan.

Speaking at a fans forum he said: “I think football can get bogged down a little bit by formations. It is all about player application.

“You can put any player in a formation but if they are not bought in, if they do not want to work hard or try hard it does not matter what they are playing.

“We want to be a team that is on the front foot and gets you off your seats in this stadium and to do that we have to play energetic, attacking football.

“My belief is I tend to play 4-3-3; I think it is the best way, I think it best suits the players we have got at our disposal.

“We have an energetic front line, lads with pace, a lot of guile, who want to come into the pockets and score goals.

“I think losing Pondy, who is obviously a legend at the club, last year, I think he worked really well in a back three, losing him makes us have to play a back four.

“I’d like to play with fast attacking wingers.”