Joey Barton believes that Sunderland are running away from his Fleetwood Town side.
READ MORE: Town didn't create enough to topple Ipswich admits Barton
The Cod Army were due to travel to the north east this Saturday but Sunderland had the game postponed due to three international call-ups.
According to Barton, Sunderland were “smart” to delay the match.
“They’ve got to play us sometime –we’ve got to play everyone twice,” Town’s head coach said ahead of last weekend’s clash with Ipswich.
“They can run as long as they want. They’re smart to avoid us. I don’t blame them. It’s a smart move from Jack (Ross, Sunderland manager).
“At this moment in time, there’s only one outcome –they know it, we know it.
“It’s good that they’ve rearranged the game for them. It’s terrible for us. We don’t want the game rearranged.
“You can rearrange this game all you want, we are getting better.
“We’re going to be better for when they rearrange the game.
“I hope they feel more comfortable having that game. It doesn’t feel forced upon them.”
Town remained third in League One after their narrow defeat to table-topping Ipswich.
Fleetwood now have to wait until October 19 for their next game at home to Burton Albion.
Barton sees Sunderland’s actions as a sign of respect for the quality of his side.
He said: “Look, we’re little old Fleetwood Town and you’ve got the likes of Sunderland running from you – it’s fantastic, isn’t it?
“With our 150 travelling fans up at the Stadium of Light, as opposed to their 30,000, it’s great for a club like us to punch above our weight.
“It’s good that we’re getting the professional respect that I feel this group’s due.
“At this moment in time, we’ll play anyone, anywhere, anytime.
“We’ve got nobody here that thinks we’re the real deal.
“We’re far from it – we’ve got lots of work to do, everyone is clear on it.
“We’ve got a clear strategy. We’re very motivated and also we’ve got no pressure.
“Nobody expects Fleetwood to win the league, nobody except (those in) this building, except this town that we’re from – all 20-30,000 in the town and about 200 workers for Andy Pilley (Town’s chairman).
“What a great time to be a Fleetwood Town fan. What a great time to be a Fleetwood Town player.”