Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton claims the League One title is in Luton Town’s hands

Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton
Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton
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Joey Barton believes the League One title is Luton Town’s to lose as his Fleetwood Town side welcome the Hatters to Highbury.

Luton are six points clear of second-placed Barnsley thanks to a 19-game unbeaten run ahead of today’s meeting.

That’s despite losing manager Nathan Jones to Stoke City in January with Mick Harford having come in as caretaker boss before being named in charge until the end of the season.

Barton is relishing the contest with his team in ninth, eight points adrift of the play-offs.

“It is a tough old league,” Barton said.

“Portsmouth, at one point, looked like they would run away with the division, and as they have found out, the competitiveness of League One has managed to curtail that slightly for them.

“Luton are on a great run. In the midst of that they have absorbed losing their manager.

“They have not missed a beat. Mick has gone in and kept it all ticking over.

“They have a lot of momentum, and on Saturday, we are going to have to stop a bit of a juggernaut and derail a machine that is steamrolling through the division at this moment in time but what a challenge that is.

“They are probably a stronger squad than we faced last time we played them because of the business they did in January.

“It is their title to lose really. At this stage they are in the final stretch of the season.

“You would have to expect them to do something they have not done for the last two years – which is lose a large amount of games – for them not to get the job done.

“But for me it is all about what we do on Saturday and getting a level to see where we are.

“Saturday is a great test for us as a football team to see how much we have to improve or how far away we are from being one of the top sides in this division.”

Luton won the reverse fixture 2-0 at Kenilworth Road and Barton is hopeful that his players will put in an improved performance from that day in December.

He said: “It was a scrappy game, we did not play anywhere near the level we can.

“We also played a team shape that was not ideal based on Wes (Burns) getting injured the day before the game.

“They were worthy winners but are we a better team now? No doubt about it.

“Do we have that assuredness about us based on recent results? One hundred per cent.

“I think it is a fantastic test for us.”