Joey Barton believes that Fleetwood Town’s away form is stopping his side from being higher up the League One table.
Town are currently ninth but sit three points off the play-offs after winning two and drawing one of their eight league games away from Highbury.
Barton believes there are multiple reasons for their faltering travelling form.
“It’s something that, as a coach, you have to talk about,” he said.
“It’s probably what is stopping us from being top two or three in this division.
“If we had our home form matching our away form, we’d be sitting a lot higher in the table but we haven’t. We’ve got to put that right.
“Is that a psychological thing? I think that’s a factor.
“It it a confidence thing? Yeah, definitely a factor.
“Is it a team shape thing? We have to factor all of these things in because it is clearly an accumulation of them all.
“Until we put that right it’ll be rightly spoken about.”
With this afternoon’s hosts, Rotherham United, currently in fifth place despite equally inconsistent home form, Barton sees this as a chance for his players to prove they can be a side worthy of being near the top.
“For me, I just see it as an opportunity,” he explained.
“It’s an opportunity to kickstart a run where, away from home, you become a really good road team.
“If you want to get promoted and you want to play in the division above you’ve got to show that, away from home, you’re a top side.
“If you put Rotherham’s away form and our home form together, we’d be sitting at the top of the table.
“No doubt Paul (Warne, Rotherham manager) will be frustrated, they’ve had three wins from nine at home.
“For a side of Rotherham’s calibre, I think that’ll be something they’re trying to improve; they get the opportunity to do that on Saturday.
“We’re not happy with our away form, we want to do that, we get the opportunity to do that on Saturday. So it’ll probably be a draw!”
The Fleetwood boss has also been cursing his side’s luck this campaign after examining the statistics.
However, he doesn’t think too many conclusions can be drawn from the table just yet.
“We’ve been incredibly unfortunate all season,” he said.
“We are way below where we should be and there is another team in the division that is exactly the same.
“For everybody else, there are a few teams that are overachieving, a few teams outliving expectations, and you have to believe that – over the course of a season – it evens itself out.
“After 18 games, you’ve still got a weird slant on it but there are some good sides in our division that I think are just yet to hit their stride.
“We’re one of them, but the onus is on us to prove that.
“We’ve got a third of the season done and we’re into a very tough part now that separates the contenders from the also-rans.
“Then you get into that period in March and that’s when I think the honours are earned. Teams will then get promoted or win championships.
“It’s being in touching distance, being competitive, all the way through the festive period, right through February and then you start to really establish yourself as who is going to win the league and who is going to get promoted.
“At this point, we’re in the chasing pack. Saturday’s game for us is against someone who will expect to be there come what may.”