Joey Barton wants more wins in Fleetwood Town season that could yet go either way

Joey Barton is targeting a winning run and a big finish for Fleetwood
Joey Barton is targeting a winning run and a big finish for Fleetwood
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Joey Barton says his Fleetwood Town team cannot sleep easily just yet as more wins are needed to ensure they are not dragged into the League One relegation battle.

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Town beat Plymouth 2-0 on Saturday and reached 52 points, which boss Barton had viewed as the safety mark.

But with the 12th-placed Pilgrims just three points above the relegation zone, Barton wants more points so he can focus totally on looking up the table.

Barton’s side are seven points clear of Plymouth and in the last 10 seasons only three teams have been relegated with 50 points – Gillingham, Notts County, and last season Oldham – none have gone down with 52 in that time.

And in an extremely tight League One table, Barton has not ruled out a late run to close the five-point gap on Doncaster Rovers, who occupy the final play-off spot.

He said: “Cheltenham was on last week and we have not got many fences left.

“We have a considerable distance to make up in the last couple of furlongs.

“You never know. We are in it but we have to be as good as we can be.

“We have to string an unbeaten run together but we have some tough games here and a couple of the big boys on the road (Barnsley and Blackpool). It is exciting.

“The league is mega-tight. Plymouth are 12th and cannot sleep easy. Even we still need a couple of wins.

“Usually 52 points in this league is safe but Wimbledon win on Saturday (at Southend to climb off the bottom).

“Everyone is beating everyone else and it makes for a fantastic end to the season. We have to make sure we are trying to get in that top group chasing down Peterborough and Coventry.

“We played Coventry last Tuesday and we are a much better team – no bones about it – but they went to Peterborough on Saturday and won.

“They are ahead of us in the table, so it is a case of can we get our foot down? If not, we need to make sure we finish this season with momentum to hit the ground running next season.”

Barton was pleased with the improvement in his side as second-half goals by Jason Holt and Ash Hunter against Plymouth secured a return to winning ways after back-to-back defeats at Walsall and Coventry.

He added: “We just asked for a bit of composure. It was a frantic game. Their manager (Derek Adams) was asking for the game to be called off. If anything they had the advantage of the conditions.

“He’s disappointed they lost but I felt we played some really good stuff in the second half.

“We had to change shape a couple of times to deal with the conditions but we got the job done.

“That is not something you could say about us all season – that we came on really strong in the second half.

“Enormous credit goes to the lads: clean sheet, 2-0 at home, three points, 52 points on the board, with eight games to go and five points off the play-offs – let’s get cracking”.