Joey Barton challenges Fleetwood Town to emulate Burton Albion’s example

Fleetwood Town's manager Joey Barton
Fleetwood Town's manager Joey Barton

Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton wants to take a leaf out of Burton Albion’s book by following in their footsteps to the Championship.

Over the years, the two clubs have risen from non-league into the EFL as Town pipped Albion to League One thanks to Antoni Sarcevic’s goal in the League Two play-off final in 2014.

After joining Town in the third tier, Albion then went on to the Championship in 2016.

Now Nigel Clough’s side are back in League One and head to Highbury level on points with Barton’s 13th-placed side.

Clough is entering his third decade in management while Barton, six months into his first managerial role, is the youngest boss in the EFL and agrees with his opposite number that the two clubs are similar.

Barton said: “I can see why Nige would say that. The two clubs closely chart each other.

“Fleetwood went past them at one point and then Burton went past Fleetwood, certainly being in the Championship.

“They have gone from relative obscurity to become established league clubs.

“For us, you want to look at the Burton model in terms of the success of getting a club of this kind into the Championship.

“The key is for us, when we get there, is making sure we can stay there for a longer period than maybe they did.

“They dropped out of the Championship and there is maybe a transitional period going on but they have some good players in there.

“It will be a challenge for us, that is what I’m finding with League One.

“Every game has got its subtleties but every game is also very competitive.

“You tend not to get the blowouts you get in the Premier League where the top six are really dominant.

“The league is starting to take place around Christmas; you start to see the big clubs and big budgets pull away.

“It is up to the rest of us to stick with that group and keep jostling for those play-off places.”