Joey Barton wants Fleetwood Town to grind out the victories

Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton
Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton

Joey Barton is working on getting more control of games as he targets ‘perfect’ 1-0 victories to push Fleetwood Town back into the play-off mix.

Heading to Rochdale’s Spotland Stadium, the Town head coach is eager to rack up more single-goal wins like league leaders Portsmouth.

Town are 10th in League One but would be second in the table had their games finished at half-time.

They squandered a 2-0 half-time lead to draw 2-2 with Oxford United last time out and now head to relegation-battling Dale, aiming to end a run of seven without a win on the road in the league.

Barton said: “For me you have to be patient.

“It is difficult to change direction in terms of how we were getting results because the individuals that were in our team were causing the opposition problems.

“But then, for me, it was about the control of games, the control of certain aspects of the game.

“I just did not feel we were getting the required level of that. It is probably the reason we have not won five or six, seven, eight or nine times, 1-0.

“For me, as a coach, winning 1-0 is the best result in the game because it shows you have the capability of controlling the flow, time, tempo of football matches.

“At this moment we have not done that effectively enough for me.

“I get there have been the flamboyant results but also the real core of your season, especially if you are trying to get promoted, is usually built on a few scrappy 1-0s.

“We’ve had a couple of them but nowhere near enough, we have to move towards that.

“At League One level you look at the top of the division and that is what they do really well up there.

“Look at Portsmouth. They are the best team in the division at not playing fantastically well every week but getting the required results when necessary.

“That is how you build a promotion team, a promotion campaign.

“First half, we are the best team in the division; we have scored more goals than anyone in the first half of games.

“But, second half, we have not been the best team.

“Clearly something that we do from Monday through to 3.45pm on Saturday afternoons has been really good.

“We have to think about what we are doing in those 15 minutes and then the 45 minutes that come after that.

“We have got many ideas on that. We are working on getting this team in a position to be challenging in the top six places come what may.”

Barton will be without Ched Evans who is serving the second of his two-match ban but, aside from that, Town have a clean bill of health.