Joey Barton tells Fleetwood Town players to clean up their act following FA ‘dressing down’

Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton
Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton

Joey Barton says Fleetwood Town’s disciplinary record needs to improve after an FA dressing down for their position at the bottom of last season’s Fair Play table.

Town picked up 103 yellow cards, saw four players sent off for a second bookable offence and four red cards in the 2018-19 season.

That saw Town finish with the most red cards and cautions in the whole division.

It is something Barton feels cost them a place in the promotion picture after finishing 11th in League One last season.

Barton was sent off himself last season when Town lost at Bristol Rovers in December and acknowledged the silly yellow and red cards have to stop.

Speaking about the disciplinary record he said: “Got to improve for sure.

“Set-plays and discipline have got to improve because they probably cost us getting in and around that promotion picture.

“We had a dressing down from the FA and rightly so, we finished bottom of the disciplinary table.

“But anyone who watches us, I don’t think we are a dirty side so I’m scratching my head.

“You want the lads to be competitive and physical because that is the league that we are in and we have to compete.

“But we have to cut out the needless yellow cards and needless red cards because they ultimately cost us.

“We went down to 10 men far too many times last year.”

With skipper Craig Morgan out of action due to injury Town will have a new captain when they open the season at Peterborough United this afternoon.

New signing Paul Coutts is expected to take the armband but Barton wants all of his players to set an example rather than relying on one person to lead.

He said: “Craig Morgan is the club captain.

“I think we have more captains here.

“When we first came in it was identifying who could be potential captains.

“Now you look around and you see six or seven potential captains; all varying age, all varying disciplines, that is the exciting thing.

“There should always be 20-odd captains at your football club.

“In my opinion everyone takes ownership of the culture, the environment.

“Having a piece of elastic wrapped around your arm should not make you lead or not lead.”