Joey Barton admits survival target of 52 points may not be enough for Fleetwood Town this season

Jack Sowerby replaced Nathan Sheron for the second half at Coventry
Jack Sowerby replaced Nathan Sheron for the second half at Coventry

Joey Barton is firmly focused on hitting the 52-point mark but admits the lower half of League One is so tight that more may be needed to guarantee survival.

READ MORE: Joey Barton explains why Ched Evans replaced Ash Eastham as Fleetwood captain at Coventry
Barton is disappointed that his Fleetwood Town side remain three points off the hypothetical safety mark of 52 after losing at Walsall and Coventry in recent days.

With sixth-placed Doncaster Rovers only picking up one point from their last two games, 10th-placed Town could have cut the gap between themselves and the play-off zone to a single point.

The priority for Barton is reaching 52, though the Town boss believes more points may be needed with just nine points between his club and the bottom four.

And the focus is on taking three points from Plymouth Argyle when Town return to Highbury on Saturday.

Barton said: “It is really frustrating because we know we are capable. We have got to learn lessons quickly.

“The reality of it is we just have to focus on Saturday, get three points back at our home ground and start making it a place where people do not want to come. Then we take it from there.

“We have had a chance (to go for the play-offs) this week but you have to put points on the board.

“He had been unbeaten away from home since New Year (five games) but we are disappointed to take no points (from the last two).

“It was a long shot before this week started but results have gone our way, and you have to step in and take advantage of that because they will not always go your way.

“We have to get three points on Saturday and see what happens.

“We know the teams around us are having a funny spell. There have been a few strange results but it is a real outside chance.

“The key for us is to get to that 52-point mark, which we are one win away from.

“That almost guarantees you safety but I’m not sure it will this year, given the way some of the sides at the bottom are playing.

“We thought we would get to 52 this week. We are disappointed not to but we get an opportunity to do that against Plymouth.”

Barton explained why Nathan Sheron was replaced by Jack Sowerby for the second half at Coventry.

He said: “Jack had a little bit of what we thought was cramp or a tight hamstring at Walsall, so we gave Shez the opportunity.

“We felt there was a chance to get your foot on the ball and play, so it was a tactical change at the break. Jack definitely got us playing.”