Joey Barton fully focused on Liverpool test at Fleetwood Town

Joey Barton's attacking principles paid off for Fleetwood against Rochdale
Joey Barton's attacking principles paid off for Fleetwood against Rochdale
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Joey Barton insists his Fleetwood Town side will not get ahead of themselves – and that means not looking beyond Wednesday's EFL Trophy tie at home to Liverpool Under-21s.

READ MORE: Football on the front foot is way forward for Fleetwood says Barton
The next League One challenge for fourth-placed Fleetwood is a visit to mid-table Shrewsbury Town on Saturday, but Barton says tonight’s 7.45pm encounter with the young Reds is his side’s most important game simply because it is the next one.

Town’s head coach said: “We’ll stay focused and in the moment. We have a game against Liverpool we have to prepare for and we’ll give all our energy to that. It’s the most important game.

“We are confident in our group but there’s a long way to go. This is a tough league and you can’t take your eye off the ball. If you start thinking too far ahead it has a way of kicking you in the proverbial sore parts.”

Fleetwood and Liverpool Under-21s both lost their opening match in Northern group B. Town lost an ill-tempered clash at Accrington Stanley three weeks ago 2-1, while the young Anfield aces lost their first ever tie in the tournament 3-2 at Oldham Athletic back in the opening week of the season.

For Barton it is another opportunity to experiment and improve, and the Town boss will be looking to maintain his side’s unbeaten record at home.

Fleetwood have dropped only two points from five league games at Highbury but Barton still felt there were improvements to be made after Saturday’s 2-1 success against Rochdale.

He said: “We were a bit wasteful, and I just thought that with a bit more composure and quality we could have made the game a lot more comfortable.

“As it was, it took us a while to break them down, but when we did it was so late that it’s tough to respond, as we know from the previous game at Southend (who equalised at the death).”

Admission tonight is £10, £5 for seniors and just £1 for under-18s