Joey Barton pays tribute to Alex Cairns ahead of keeper’s 100th Fleetwood Town appearance

Fleetwood Town's Alex Cairns
Fleetwood Town's Alex Cairns
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Joey Barton wants Alex Cairns to be the most ‘boring man on the planet’ for the rest of the season ahead of his 100th Fleetwood Town game.

The 26-year-old keeper kept his 11th clean sheet this season in the 1-0 win over Charlton Athletic last time out.

He is now set to make his 100th Town appearance against Bradford City today with Barton hoping it’s a milestone that passes in an uneventful fashion.

Barton said: “Virtually from the first few days of coming into the football club you could see that Al was a very well respected member of the group; socially as well as on the playing field.

“You see him train, his desire to improve, his work ethic and you can see why he does have that standing.

“He is a fantastic goalkeeper and he has shown over the course of the season what qualities he has.

“He has only faced two shots on target in the last two games so thankfully he is not getting as much work now as he was in the early part of the season.

“He has been there many times this season but I would really like to see him being the most boring man on the planet and have nothing to do in games because that will tell us that the team in front of him are functioning particularly well.

“Twenty-six for a goalkeeper is a lot younger than it is for an outfield player; it sounds bizarre to say that but it is.

“They do tend to mature and last a little bit into their 30s.

“It is a case of a mindset with players; some mature earlier than others, some just take their time to settle down and find a way.

“If he keeps improving and dedicating himself to the profession in the way he does then clearly he can push himself a lot further in football.”

Town travel to Bradford on the back of a clean sheet against Charlton a week ago.

Skipper Craig Morgan, who missed out through injury and was replaced by Stoke City loanee Harry Souttar, is not far away.

Wes Burns could continue at right-back as Lewie Coyle returns from suspension with Barton admitting it would be hard to change a back four that performed so well.

He said: “The defence functioned really well and limited Charlton.

“It is a big thing having your skipper out because he is, in many regards, a leader; certainly in the dressing room and out on the pitch at times.

“Ash (Eastham) was captain. Along with some of the more senior players I felt they led the team in a really competent manner, hence the reason we limited the opposition to the chances that we did.”