Barton wants old QPR coach Kevin Bond to guide Southend United to safety as he believes every team in the bottom half except Bradford City has a chance of survival

Joey Barton
Joey Barton
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Joey Barton wants his old QPR coach Kevin Bond to guide Southend United to safety.

The Fleetwood boss believes every team in the bottom half of League One, bar Bradford City, has a chance of survival in the 13-team League One relegation battle.

Bond was this week named Shrimpers boss, his first full management role since taking charge of Bournemouth in 2008.

Southend are above the relegation zone on goal difference as one of four clubs on 42 points, six more than rock-bottom Bradford.

But the division is so tight that not even 12th-placed Oxford United are out of danger on 49 points.

Barton has not seen anything like it in all his time in football but insists any sentiment will go out of the window as Town try to cut the eight point gap to the play-off zone tomorrow.

Barton said of the new Southend boss: “I know Kev well. He was with us for a couple of seasons as first-team coach at QPR when Harry Redknapp was manager.

“He’s a good football man, who I’d spend time discussing the finer details of football and tactics with.

“I know what qualities he has and we will have to be on our mettle because Southend might be struggling but having someone like Kevin in there will give them a massive chance of staying in this division.

“Anyone who is looking over their shoulder has a tough job on their hands. Kev does not need me to tell him that.

“I don’t believe he would have taken the job if he did not think he could keep them in the division, with the good players and personnel they have got. They have some quality performers.

“It is as strange a league I have seen – 12 clubs capable of being relegated with single-figure games to go.

“You probably cannot see Bradford getting out of it now – they have gone on a downward spiral at a critical time – but you would say every other team in the bottom four has a right good chance.

“It makes for an exciting finish to the season, albeit at the wrong end of the table. For us it is a case of trying to latch on to that top group.

“Sentiment goes out of the window, like it did against Accrington. I’m desperate to get maximum points, and after that I wish Kev and Southend well. There will be no old pals’ act on Saturday because we want three points.”