Barton's mission to end Fleetwood Town's cup hoodoo at Crewe
Fleetwood Town have never reached the second round of the League Cup in six attempts and Joey Barton aims to make a piece of history at Crewe Alexandra tonight.
Town are the favourites going into the tie against the League Two Railwaymen.
A League Two side, Carlisle United, continued that run of first-round defeats 12 months ago and Barton is not treating tonight’s tie as an opportunity to blood his reserves, but rather as a chance to keep up Town’s momentum up after Saturday’s 2-0 win at Oxford, his first as a head coach.
On the prospect of making history, Barton said: “That is the beauty of being at a club like Fleetwood.
“There are lots of firsts to be had here. Obviously there are some really good managers who have gone before and achieved great things, like getting the club into the Football League and into League One, and establishing them as a stabilised league club.
“At other clubs you are probably swimming into over a hundred years of history. Fleetwood do have a history but as a league club it is fairly embryonic and the main thing is what we do on a daily basis.
“I gave an academy product his debut this weekend (Nathan Sheron) but we don’t do it for first – we do it because the players are good enough and ready.
“If as a by-product of that you become the first to do something, then great.
“If we go to Crewe and give a good account of ourselves, then there is every chance we will have another first there but the main thing for us is winning a football match.”
And Barton is not taking Crewe for granted, given their 6-0 opening-day win over a Morecambe side that gave Town a stern test in pre-season .
And he stressed the competition is a priority.
He said: “Morecambe are not a bad side and you did not see that 6-0 coming.
“Crewe must have been good on the day but then they go to Newport and lose.
“We have watched the footage and seen enough of Crewe to know where we can hurt them.
“It is a cup tie and they will be intent on winning the same way we are because cups are the lifeblood of clubs like Crewe and ourselves.
Cup runs are important because they contribute massively towards the budget and can change lots of things at a football club.
“It is important we go there as a League One side heading to a League Two side and try to impose our will on them.
“I don’t think they will be overawed by facing us and we have to get into the contest.”
New signings James Wallace and Chris Long are easing their way back from injury but Barton says tonight’s match may be too soon for them.
He added: “We are not 100 per cent sure. They have had a body of training and Longy was out there on Monday doing some physical stuff.
“They are in our thoughts but we want them to train a little bit longer. They will come up short because we have lads champing at the bit, who have been fit through pre-season.
“We do not want to use it (Crewe) as an extension of a reserve game, otherwise we will be dumped out of the cup.
“The key for us is to go there with a fully fit, robust set of lads, who can get us into the next round of the competition.”