Fleetwood boss Joey Barton warns that adversity has made Coventry stronger

Joey Barton hopes he is still smiling after tonight's match at Coventry but the Town boss expects a tough test
Joey Barton hopes he is still smiling after tonight's match at Coventry but the Town boss expects a tough test
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Fleetwood Town are preparing to visit a united Coventry City tonight, despite the unrest at the club.

READ MORE: Fleetwood fans are starting to believe says Barton
Speaking ahead of the 7.45pm League One clash, Town boss Joey Barton expressed sympathy with the Sky Blues amid their ongoing struggles.

Coventry are playing home games at Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s stadium this season, having failed to reach a deal to remain at Ricoh Arena.

Barton is aware of the positive effect that could have in bringing everyone at the club closer to keep fighting.

Town’s head coach said: “The disruption off the pitch isn’t ideal for them. We went to the Ricoh Arena last season and it’s perfect for them, for what they’re trying to do. It’s in the middle of the town they want to be in the middle of.

“It’s not ideal when they’re forced to play away from their fans. It must be tough for them in this

moment. But we have seen before that it could galvanise the supporters, the team and the fan base. That strength through adversity – it looks like they’ve got that.

“We’re going to need to be miles better than we were, in many aspects, in the game on Saturday (a 4-1 home win over Burton Albion).

“We’ve shown that we have a ruthless efficiency to us. When we start executing to the level that I know we can, we’ll be even better. That’s the challenge thrown down to our players.

“It will be a thorough examination of us against a good, young, exciting Coventry team.

“If we’re not at it, then I’m sure we’ll find what strengths they really have.”

The Cod Army boss sees many similarities between tonight’s opponents in their approach, though he admits there is a major disparity where the production of players in concerned.

Barton said: “They’re a really good team. They were good last year. Mark (Robins, Sky Blues boss, above) did a great job there last year playing great football, similar to us in many ways bringing players through, albeit their academy is a lot further developed than ours.

“Coventry has been a club that has developed players over long periods, with the likes of James Maddison in Leicester’s team. There’s a whole host of players up and down the divisions that have come through Coventry’s system. When you look at it that way, you can see similarities.

“They play the right way and it doesn’t surprise me to see where they sat in the table last season (finishing eighth) or the start they’ve made this year.”