Joey Barton admits Fleetwood were second-best but insists team news was leaked to Blackpool

Fleetwood boss Joey Barton said he had begun a club investigation after insisting his Blackpool opposite number Simon Grayson was made aware of Town’s line-up days before Saturday’s Bloomfield Road clash.

Sunday, 8th December 2019, 8:39 am
Updated Sunday, 8th December 2019, 8:40 am
Joey Barton (left) claims Simon Grayson had advanced information on his team, though the Fleetwood boss did predict the Blackpool line-up

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Matt Scrafton's verdict on feisty clash

“I know that he (Grayson) knew my team and my tactics on Wednesday, which is disappointing,” said Town’s head coach, who had himself predicted Blackpool’s line-up in his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“It is football, though, and I understand that people talk. Sometimes there’s a bit of pillow talk between players and agents, and maybe people who are a bit disgruntled because they’re not in the side.

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“It’s disappointing when it happens in football because we’re usually a proper set of men, and in a proper group you don’t get that.

“Clearly the fact that Simon and his players and staff had lots of details on what we were going to do is something we now need to get to the bottom of.

“We’ll conduct our own internal stuff on that, on how or where that information was given to them.

“It’s tough because I’m not the FBI. I’m just trying to pick a team to win a game, but that doesn’t take anything away from Blackpool and their victory.

“It gives them a slight advantage going into the game, but if they’d done their homework and knew what they were doing anyway it’s the players that cross the line and then it’s 11 versus 11.

“I’m not going to use that as an excuse. We lost fairly and squarely, but I’ll be making sure we tighten our structures and make sure we’re a lot more clinical and efficient in what we do.”

On the field, the Cod Army were second-best on the day as the Seasiders leap-frogged them to go fourth in League One, albeit having played two more games.

By the time substitute Conor McAleny fired home in the 80th minute, the visitors were three down and out of contention.

Barton added: “It was a very disappointing afternoon for us, very much so.

“We’re all frustrated because the reality of it is we still feel we’re a much better football team than Blackpool.

“That means nothing now. We lost this game fair and square.

“We’ve got to manage key moments of a game better.

“We do need the rub of the green too, though. Some of the refereeing decisions didn’t go for us.

“I can’t believe he gave a free-kick for the second goal and there was a definite foul in the run-up to the third but that’s football.

“You’ve got to adjust and make sure that your team is always fully on it and ready to go.

“Today we got no points because we didn’t turn up and we certainly didn’t deliver the best version of ourselves.

“The first goal changes any football match. Blackpool got that today, we didn’t and at the end of the game we come away with nothing.”