Joey Barton: Fleetwood will win tonight but it may not be enough

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Joey Barton says his Fleetwood side will win tonight’s second leg of their League One play-off semi-final at Wycombe Wanderers but admits it may not be enough to revive Town’s Wembley hopes.
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We have to pick ourselves up off off the canvas

Town were handsomely beaten 4-1 by the Chairboys at Highbury on Friday.

And that was only part of the story, with two penalties awarded, one saved, two red cards for Fleetwood and even a flare thrown onto the pitch despite the game being behind closed doors.

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Friday's first leg was a tough watch for Fleetwood boss Joey BartonFriday's first leg was a tough watch for Fleetwood boss Joey Barton
Friday's first leg was a tough watch for Fleetwood boss Joey Barton

Those red cards mean Town will be without Lewie Coyle (straight red) and top scorer Paddy Madden (two yellows) for the away leg.

Speaking after Friday’s game, Barton said: “It’s easy when you win in this game. It’s easy when your team is playing great. When it’s difficult is on nights like tonight, where you’ve got to show your character and what you’re about.

“Monday we’ll be ready. We’ll win that game. Whether we can win by a big enough margin to get us to Wembley I’m not sure.

“They’re a good side. They’ve shown that they’re difficult to break down. We’ll believe, we’ll give it everything and if we come up short we come up short.

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“We’ve still finished in the play-offs. We’ve still finished above Sunderland, Ipswich Town, some big clubs, to get this opportunity.

“We haven’t maximised it tonight but we’re still alive in this. While there’s a fight, you’ve got a chance.

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth was quick to acknowledge it is only half-time in the tie and Barton has the same mindset.

The head coach added: “They’re 3-0 up – it’s a huge advantage.I’ve seen Liverpool come back in 45 minutes in a Champions League final against one of the best defences the world has ever seen. It is possible.

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“I’ve been 4-0 down in a game against Arsenal. We (Newcastle in 2011) came back and drew 4-4 and were unlucky not to win 5-4. That can happen in our game.

“It’s rare but you’ve certainly got to believe it can happen. It’s play-off football.

“We didn’t think that (Friday’s heavy defeat) could happen in our wildest of predictions. I don’t think anyone had that kind of game panning out.

“That’s football, that’s why everybody tunes in and that’s why everyone missed it while it was away. It just produces madness, genius, whatever you want to call it.”