Blackpool boss Simon Grayson strongly denies Joey Barton's claim that Fleetwood Town's line-up was leaked ahead of Fylde coast clash

Blackpool boss Simon Grayson has refuted Joey Barton's claims that Fleetwood Town's team was leaked prior to yesterday's Fylde coast clash.

Sunday, 8th December 2019, 10:33 am
Updated Sunday, 8th December 2019, 10:51 am
Simon Grayson and Joey Barton on the touchline during yesterday's Fylde coast clash

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Joey Barton admits Fleetwood were second-best but insists team news was leaked t...

After his side slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Bloomfield Road on Saturday, Barton claimed Grayson was made aware of his starting line-up days before the game.

He went on to say the club would be launching an internal investigation.

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“I know that he (Grayson) knew my team and my tactics on Wednesday, which is disappointing,” said Town’s head coach, who had himself predicted Blackpool’s line-up in his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“It is football, though, and I understand that people talk. Sometimes there’s a bit of pillow talk between players and agents, and maybe people who are a bit disgruntled because they’re not in the side.

“It’s disappointing when it happens in football because we’re usually a proper set of men, and in a proper group you don’t get that.

“Clearly the fact that Simon and his players and staff had lots of details on what we were going to do is something we now need to get to the bottom of.

“We’ll conduct our own internal stuff on that, on how or where that information was given to them.

“It’s tough because I’m not the FBI. I’m just trying to pick a team to win a game, but that doesn’t take anything away from Blackpool and their victory.

“It gives them a slight advantage going into the game, but if they’d done their homework and knew what they were doing anyway it’s the players that cross the line and then it’s 11 versus 11.

“I’m not going to use that as an excuse. We lost fairly and squarely, but I’ll be making sure we tighten our structures and make sure we’re a lot more clinical and efficient in what we do.”

Grayson has strongly denied the claims, stressing that Blackpool had no indication of what team Fleetwood would play and that an internal investigation would be a waste of time.

"If Joey wants to investigate then that's fine," he told The Gazette. "But I can say 100 per cent that we didn't know it.

"We worked hard all week on how we were going to play and only touched on Fleetwood in our 1.30pm Saturday meeting and then again at 2pm."

On the field, the Cod Army were second-best on the day as the Seasiders leap-frogged them to go fourth in League One, albeit having played two more games.

By the time substitute Conor McAleny fired home in the 80th minute, the visitors were three down and out of contention thanks to goals from Liam Feeney, Sullay Kaikai and Armand Gnanduillet.