Fleetwood boss Joey Barton ready for 'top' test against Coventry
Two home games in five days against sides currently above them in League One present Fleetwood Town with a big chance to climb the table.
READ MORE: Barton hails penalty hero Cairns but isn't happy with draw at Bristol Rovers
But boss Joey Barton knows that a “top” Coventry City side will pose a tough test at Highbury tonight (7.45pm).
Coventry are currently fourth and would go top by winning the two games in hand they have over all the teams above them.
Doncaster Rovers then arrive at Fleetwood on Saturday, with only goal difference currently separating the sides.
Fleetwood have slipped to 11th, having won only one of their last nine league games, but remain just four points outside the play-off zone with at least one game in hand on seven of the teams above them.
Town took an early lead at Coventry in October but the Sky Blues hit back to win with two second-half goals. .
Head coach Barton said: “They’re a top side in the division, no doubt about it. It was a good game down there.
“I thought we shaded it in the first half, got into the lead and then they changed their formation. They’re playing a 3-4-3 now, with the box in midfield.
“Hopefully we’ve learned our lessons from the away game. It’s a great test for us – a good side coming to our place, quickly followed by Doncaster.
“In our encounters with Coventry last season, we beat them once and they beat us once. We’re hoping to do the same. They beat us at their place, even though we were right in the encounter.
“Coventry rightly sit in a lofty position because they’re a very good side.
“Mark (manager Robins) has got some good young players and they play some good stuff. It will be a good test for our boys.”
Town are yet to win a match in 2020 after six attempts but Barton knows they still have everything to play for.
“The teams are so closely matched. You look at Bristol Rovers (where Town played out a goalless draw on Saturday) – they haven’t won in 10 games but they’re competitive, they’re no mugs.
“There are no whipping boys – they’ve gone.”
Fleetwood will have to get used to midweek matches in the next six weeks: tonight’s is the first of five Tuesday fixtures, including three in succession which will give Town a run of seven games in 22 days in February/March.
And after all that they don’t have a game in the final week of the campaign. “It’s a farce,” says Barton.