Joey Barton pays tribute to Fleetwood Town’s players and supporters

Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton
Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton

Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton thanked the Cod Army for braving the elements to cheer his men to a 1-0 victory over Burton Albion on Saturday.

The wind, rain, sleet and plummeting temperatures did not deter the home faithful, who saw Ched Evans’ 51st minute penalty make it six unbeaten at Highbury in the league for Town.

Barton was delighted to send them home with three points.

He said: “Thanks to the fans for coming out because I’m not sure I would have come out on a Saturday afternoon if I looked out of the window.

“It was only that we were paid to be here that we came.

“So to turn out in their droves as they have done, certainly behind the goal where the sleet and snow was blowing in, was a credit to them.

“They kept singing throughout the game and I’m delighted for them that we have three points to start the festive period.”

Skipper Craig Morgan did not feature with Nathan Sheron and Ash Eastham teaming up in central defence and helping Alex Cairns to a clean sheet.

Ash Hunter also limped off with cramp as Wes Burns, James Husband (both hamstring) and James Wallace (calf) all missed out.

“Craig stiffened up off the back of a couple of training sessions during the week,” Barton explained.

“Obviously it is at that point where we do not want to risk it.

“I’m not going to complain; football managers across the country have to deal with knocks, niggles and injuries.

“We have just got to overcome that like we did on Saturday. We got three points over a good side. Burton were in the Championship last year and they are no mugs.

“We had to defend our box at key times but, with a little bit more composure in and around the box, we could have had other goals.

“It was a real professional performance from the lads and I’m delighted for them because it will take them four hours to warm back up!

“It was nice for Cairnsy to get a clean sheet because he is a top class keeper and it was not easy being a keeper on Saturday.”

Saturday’s conditions were perhaps best summed up when Cairns took a goal kick.

Having done so, he then had to gather the ball again as it came back through the air towards his own goal.

Barton said: “That is how severe the wind was.

“Alex has taken a goal kick and ends up catching his own goal kick.

“I’ve never seen that in football before and hope not to see it again!

“But, knowing the weather in this part of the world at this time of the year, you have to manage the conditions.

“Nigel (Clough, Burton manager) and his staff were urging their lads on to get a goal in the first half because they knew how important the conditions were.

“Obviously we get in at half-time at 0-0 and we then have the opportunity to use the wind to our advantage.

“Fair play to the lads, they got the penalty from Ched.

“It was a really tough League One fixture in really bad conditions for both sets of players.

“I’m just glad we got the three points.”