Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton warmed up for today’s game against Ipswich Town by admitting they had beaten him to transfer target James Norwood.
Barton had been tracking Norwood, who scored 32 goals for Tranmere Rovers last season before moving to Portman Road over the summer.
However, he said Town were unable to compete financially with what the former Championship side could offer.
He said: “We tracked James Norwood, tracked him for a while, and thought we had a legitimate shot at getting him.
“Then, he scores loads of goals in League Two last season and then you hear Ipswich are in for him, as they’re coming down.
“We’re kind of like: ‘OK, we might have £2,500-£3,000, for you’ and then Ipswich come in and give him between £8,000 and £10,000.
“The January before you see Sunderland pay £3.5m for Will Grigg and probably up north of £10,000 a week.
“It’s remaining clear in your objectives that we can’t compete with these teams financially, so we’ve got to be a lot smarter in what we do.
“In many ways it’s going to be David versus Goliath.”
After their relegation from the Championship last season, Ipswich were automatically made early favourites to climb out of League One.
With his squad arguably Fleetwood’s best yet, Barton is looking at the two squads from a wider perspective.
“To be fair to them they’ve made a really great start,” he said.
“The reality of it is, my players, Fleetwood players, right now, arguably, are in the landscape of becoming the best Fleetwood Town team.
“Where, no disrespect to the Ipswich players, if they don’t win the league this year, or even if they do win the league, they’re probably as bad as a group of players as Ipswich have had in a long time. That’s the reality.
“You can see them doing the wave to the crowd after games and the stuff you would worry about them doing 10 games in.
“Do you have the confidence after losing virtually every week for a long period last season?
“A change around of players, players stepping up from League Two into League One, players dropping down the leagues.
“Is it built on solid foundations? I suppose we will find that out on Saturday, because you have a side in Fleetwood Town who are upwardly mobile in terms of momentum.
“When we took over here this was a club fighting off relegation.
“That is no longer the culture or the mindset of the building.”