Joey Barton fails with top Fleetwood Town target but still aims to make a success of first season

Joey Barton's Fleetwood trail leaders Luton by 31 points
Joey Barton's Fleetwood trail leaders Luton by 31 points

He arrived at Fleetwood Town aiming to win League One and so Joey Barton will view his first season in management as a failure, even though he is still targeting a charge for the play-offs.

READ MORE: Barton's apology to Accrington Stanley

Fleetwood are 31 points adrift of leaders Luton Town but haven’t given up hope of pipping sixth-placed Doncaster to the final play-off spot. Rovers are eight points ahead of 11th-placed Town, having played a game more.

But Barton is not content with mid-table mediocrity as he eyes a final flurry of points.

The Town boss said: “I’d be much happier if I was 15 or 25 points better off. All I see is the missed opportunities and the points that were dropped.

“I’m not going to give myself a pat on the back for finishing 10th. I came here wanting to win the league. We have not done that, so I will see this season as a failure.”

Barton says Town’s destiny is in their own hands, though they need to win at Accrington Stanley tomorrow.

He added: “We’ve still got a lot to play for. I know Doncaster won during the week but if we win eight out of eight I reckon we will have a say in the play-off picture.

“It is a tough ask, a long shot but do-able. You look at the fixtures and I do believe you should win every football game.

“Accrington are fighting for their lives. It will be a tough encounter.

“We have to overcome that obstacle before we think about any bigger picture.

“It is a great test, a great challenge and we look to give a good account of ourselves.

“Everyone else will nick points off each other. You have to take care of your own business. We have a game in hand on most but the reality is we have a points deficit.

“We get an opportunity on Saturday to move closer but if we do not focus on the task in hand there is no point thinking about the other seven games. It is that one-game -at-a-time mentality.”

Barton says his team are raring to go after their weekend off. “At this stage in the season it was a welcome break,” he said.

“Our lads are fit and healthy, and really champing at the bit. If we had to play last Saturday or Tuesday, then brilliant – our lads are really enjoying their football.

“But the break was an opportunity to work on a few things, get a bit of energy back in the tanks, and we are looking forward to getting back to business.”