Joey Barton outlines the reasons for Fleetwood Town’s system reboot

Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton
Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton

Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton has explained his decision to change their system.

The Cod Army switched for last week’s win over Doncaster Rovers, deploying Lewie Coyle and Danny Andrew as wing-backs while fielding three central defenders.

Although Coyle and Andrew might be recognised full-backs, Barton doesn’t want his rearguard to be seen as one with five defenders.

“We’re trying not to play five at the back, we’re trying to play three at the back,” he explained.

“We want to play 3-4-3, that’s the reality of it. It’s a relatively new system.

“We want to attack. For me, the best form of defence is attack and we’ve got to do that in a strategic way.

“We maybe didn’t have all the personnel to do it but the style of football I’m going to play is the style of football that is on the front foot, going forward and pressing teams.

“It takes time to get there and I’ve had teams that didn’t quite have all the parts to fit that.

“As a manager I think you need at least three windows, if you get money.

“If you don’t get money you need four or five windows to get your players in with the skillset to play the game the way you see it played.

“I want a very mobile backline that can all defend one v one, and I want us pushed on and squeezing teams in their half.

“I’ve been trying to do it since January last year but with players that weren’t perfect for the system.

“This summer we recruited to try and solve one of our perceived problems.

“We thought we got a handle on it but then of course, once you solve one problem, all of a sudden there was something else that popped up.

“That is football, you’re constantly in an evolution of your football team.”

With the play-offs, and even automatic promotion, still a realistic possibility for Fleetwood, Barton isn’t focusing on that.

Instead of the lure of trophies, he’s eyeing one specific accolade.

He said: “We want to be the best football team that has ever been at Fleetwood Town.

“If we’re the most successful Fleetwood Town team there has been, then I think that is a huge success for us as a coaching group.

“If that comes with play-offs or trophies and promotions, then fantastic.

“At this moment in time the focus is to be the best group of men that have ever played football for this football club.”