Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton doesn’t want another FA Cup third round exit as they meet Portsmouth

Saturday, 4th January 2020, 6:00 am
Fleetwood Town exited the third round against AFC Wimbledon last year
Fleetwood Town exited the third round against AFC Wimbledon last year

Town were knocked out at this stage last season by AFC Wimbledon, a loss Barton cited as his reason for moving on so many players in the winter window last year.

Thirteen players left in January of 2019 with only Harry Souttar coming in.

Barton said: “I know from experience how important it is.

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“Last year we didn’t make it to the fourth round and the financial ramifications of that in January were that I lost 13 players and brought one in.

“We had to cut our cloth accordingly because that’s how important the finances of the FA Cup are to a club like ourselves.

“It’s a huge game in the season and I expect it’ll be the same for Portsmouth.

“It’s the best cup competition in world football in my opinion, it’s the oldest and the most prestigious and it’s the one everyone dreamed about winning as a kid.

“There’s nothing better in the football calendar than the FA Cup third round weekend.

“Those competitions are the lifeblood for clubs like us.

“Saturday’s game will be a huge one for us as it will for Portsmouth.

“Both sides are keen to progress to give themselves that confidence and boost the energy with a cup run that we can hopefully use in the league to springboard a promotion challenge.”

Barton has huge respect for the stature of this afternoon’s opponents, the 2008 winners and a former Premier League side.

He said: “They are a massive team, they’ve won the FA Cup in the last 20 years.

“Anyone who wins the FA Cup are a big team. They’ve had some wonderful players over the years, I’ve played there myself many times.

“Portsmouth are a huge football club, make no bones about it. They’re a very good side. You’ve seen the financial outlay they’ve had this year.

“North of £3m for John Marquis, north of £1m for Ellis Harrison, and that’s to name but a few. Compared to us they’re a massive side.

“If you can’t get a Premier League team, you want a home draw. We would have liked an easier home draw, that’s for sure.

“I think Pompey are in a false league position, they’re a very good side. Kenny (Jackett), I know very well, he was reserve team manager when I was at (Manchester) City. He’s someone I have a huge admiration and great respect for.

“They’re a side that beat us twice last year. We think we’re a better side than we were last year and we’re going to have to be a lot better than we were against Sunderland in order to progress.”