If Fleetwood Town want to be successful this term they need to make Highbury a fortress again, says on-loan Rangers midfielder Jason Holt.
For the past two seasons Town have picked up more points away than at Highbury.
Town’s highest-ever League One finish of fourth in 2016/17 season was fuelled by the division’s third-best away record – they were only eighth in the home rankings.
Their form on the road last term was drastically superior – Town placed 20th at home and ninth away to finish 14th in the table.
When Fleetwood just escaped relegation on the final day in 2015/16, they were second-bottom of the away form table.
It might be a case of new boss, new era at Highbury but that trend of more points being collected away has continued so far.
In the opening five league, games, Fleetwood have lost just once – to AFC Wimbledon at Highbury on the opening day.
Town’s other home game was that heartbreaking last-gasp 2-2 draw with Rochdale.
A win at Oxford, that 5-0 thrashing at Scunthorpe and last Saturday’s crisp 0-0 draw at Charlton have propelled them into a play-off spot.
As Barton searches for his first win on home soil, 25-year-old Holt wants Town to make their base a fortress, starting against Bradford City on Saturday.
He said: “It is very important. If you look over the years, when teams are successful their home form has to be spot on.
“If we can get that right, the away form so far has been good.
“If we can start making Highbury a bit of a fortress, we can make that a positive and continue it on.”
Town go into the clash fresh from a 4-0 thrashing at Premier League side Leicester in the League Cup. Holt’s omission was one of 11 changes as boss Joey Barton prioritised the Bantams clash after a gruelling week of travelling that saw Town thump Scunthorpe 5-0 at Glanford Park and draw 0-0 at Charlton’s Valley before visiting the King Power on Tuesday.
Holt is expected to return on Saturday and says Town’s last two League One games made a statement to the rest that Barton’s team business.
He said: “We won’t get carried away. It was certainly a good week on the road for us.
“We have a home game this weekend and it would be great to start picking up more wins at home because the away form is really good.”
Holt is taking nothing for granted against Michael Collins’ Bantams, who have won two and lost three to sit 13th in the table.
Their only away win was at last term’s surprise promotion contenders Shrewsbury on the opening day.
Holt said: “It is going to be a tough game but if we just concentrate on ourselves and do our jobs first and foremost, then hopefully the result will look after itself and be a positive one.”