Joey Barton: Fleetwood must start putting teams to the sword

Ched Evans on the attack against Coventry but Fleetwood had another off-night in front of goal
Ched Evans on the attack against Coventry but Fleetwood had another off-night in front of goal

Joey Barton has urged his Fleetwood Town players to be more ruthless to winning ways and achieve their play-off dream.

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The Cod Army boss spoke passionately after Tuesday’s home game against Coventry City, their second goalless draw in four days, having seen his side waste presentable chances in a wind-affected match.

Town are without a win in seven home games since defeating Tranmere Rovers on November 23. They have won none of their last eight anywhere and have drawn five out of seven in League One.

Even so, Fleetwood remain 11th and five points outside the play-offs, meaning a couple of wins would put them right back in contention.

Barton said: “We’ve got to put teams to the sword. I won’t say we were dominant but when you’re so territorially on top, like we were most of the time, you just need a bit of care.

“We needed that bit of quality. I’d said to the lads before the game that we needed the first block and the first pass to be right, and that would give us the platform to attack.

“Too many times we didn’t take care of the ball enough and you’ve got to do that if you want to be a good side. If we don’t learn quickly, we’ll find out that we can’t compete with good sides like Coventry.

“You don’t get 15 opportunities against a really good side – you might get two, three or four, and you’ve got to convert them.

“If you go up to the Championship that goes down to two chances. You might only get one in the Premier League, so if you don’t put it away you don’t win.

“That’s the kind of demand we’ve got to put on our players.

“This isn’t about Fleetwood Town finishing top 10, we’ve got to be more ruthless as a team and win those type of games if we are going to deservedly get into that top six.”

The blustery conditions didn’t help either side in an uninspiring first half. Town created the better of the opportunities, with Ched Evans heading straight at keeper Marco Marosi and Paddy Madden glancing inches wide from eight yards.

Again the hosts enjoyed the better of the second period but couldn’t find a way through. Madden lashed an effort over the top and Evans ought to have found a way past Marosi.

Barton added: “I’m pleased, chiefly because it’s back-to-back clean sheets. We’ve spoken about at least giving ourselves a platform.

“The back four and goalkeeper Alex Cairns were brilliant on Saturday and it was the same again.

“We limited Coventry to minimal opportunities and they’re a good side, make no bones about it. Mark (Robins, manager) has them really well organised and they’re on a good run.

“It was a dangerous game for us because of Coventry’s quality, but on the sheer weight of chances I think we’ve had the better of it.

“On another day we score a couple of them and it turns into an easy three points for us.

“I guess I’m disappointed overall. We should have beaten Coventry tonight and we should have beaten them down there earlier in the season.”