Joey Barton lauded League One leaders Luton Town and says his Fleetwood Town side must work hard to try to emulate them.
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Mick Harford’s men made it 20 unbeaten with a 2-1 win at Highbury on Saturday.
The Hatters didn’t allow the loss of head coach Nathan Jones to Championship club Stoke City to disrupt that charge to the top of the table.
And as Fleetwood bid to bounce back at Burton Albion on Saturday, Barton called on Town to reach Luton’s level.
The head coach said: “They are a fantastic team. They controlled the structures of the game superbly and that is why they are sitting at the top of the pile.
“We have to work hard towards that. The great thing is we have the route map. We know how to get there.
“It is just a case of hard work, smart recruitment and continuing to build momentum as a football team.
“Luton have carried on winning from last year. That locks in good habits.
“They lost their head coach to Stoke but they have not missed a beat, which says a lot about their system.
“They are fantastically well-organised, fit, strong and everyone knows their roles. They are high on confidence and we can’t really say the same thing because we were a side fighting relegation last year.
“This year we have been in a little bit of a transition period but we have to build momentum and keep it.
“We had it in the last couple of weeks. We took a little bit of a backward step against Luton but we have a chance to put that right at Burton.
“Luton are the benchmark because they are probably going to get out of this division this season. We want to get out of this division.
“It’s good to see them up close and personal. No doubt we will have a few skirmishes with Barnsley (who are second) and Peterborough (seventh), who are going to come here (in April). Great tests for us as a team and I’m really looking forward to that.”
Harry Souttar had to be bandaged up during the Luton clash after an aerial collision. And Barton said that won’t harm his chances of keeping his place.
He added: “It was just a clash of heads. I thought he and Ash Eastham were outstanding on Saturday against two handfuls in James Collins and Danny Hylton.
“They really dominated and gave us the platform to compete with Luton.
“Harry has just got a stitch. It probably will not improve his chances of getting a modelling contract but it will definitely improve his chances of getting a place in the team.”