Joey Barton ready for more parked buses at in-form Fleetwood Town

Joey Barton greets Paul Tisdale, whose MK Dons side arrived at Highbury with a defensive mindset
Joey Barton greets Paul Tisdale, whose MK Dons side arrived at Highbury with a defensive mindset

Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton expects to see more League One sides arrive at Highbury with a plan to frustrate and defend.

READ MORE: Bolton far tougher to beat now warns Barton
Town managed to beat MK Dons 1-0 last weekend, but Barton anticipates more sides emulating Paul Tisdale’s men.

MK Dons set up defensively – understandably considering Town’s home form – and Barton thinks that other sides will follow that approach or risk suffering a worse fate.

He said: “They have to; if they don’t, we’ll beat them a lot easier than we beat MK at the weekend.

“Teams have realised that – one defeat in nine months at home.

“Last season, we struggled to beat the teams that we’re finding a way of beating this season.

“We also struggled to come from a goal behind to beat teams but there’s been a real change of emphasis.

“We’d like to see more clean sheets, more dominance, more control, more goals; but you’ve got to get your fundamentals right in order to do that.”

The immediate challenge is a visit to Bolton Wanderers tomorrow and the Town boss talked of his side’s tactical progress. He said: “The next period will be about moving into the final third more consistently because the lads have made a good start to the campaign, especially at home. We’ve been decent but we want to find another gear.

“That other gear is about improving on a daily basis and I think the next step for us is to improve consistently in that final third.”

Despite being free-flowing and attack-minded, Town have been restricted going forward at times, a problem that is next to be addressed.

Barton said: “We’ve been trying to get certain things into the team and the players’ minds that they do subconsciously.

“That’s the ultimate test – that they can do it when the pressure’s on in a game but they also do it without thinking.

“They’ve shown in many elements of the possession and the build-up phase that they can do that.

“The key for us is to become more clinical, more ruthless when we get into those finishing areas, which is ultimately what sets you apart as a team – when you get into that final third consistently and cause multiple problems for the opposition.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do until we get to that level but we’ve shown we are capable of getting there consistently and that provides a base to build our attacking profile.”