Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton expects a hero’s welcome for Micky Mellon at Highbury tomorrow.
READ MORE: Barton welcomes Fleetwood's trip to Goodison Park for EFL Trophy tie
Mellon will bring his Tranmere Rovers side to the club he guided into the Football League seven years ago.
The Scot was Town’s first full-time manager and won two promotions during his four years in charge.
And Cod Army head coach Barton believes that his close friend Mellon, the former Blackpool midfielder, should get all the credit he deserves for his achievements at Town.
Barton said: “You’ve got to remember Micky took Fleetwood from being a non-league club to a League club. That’s something that will always be in the history of Fleetwood Town.
“He was the first manager ever to do that, which is an incredible achievement, and one he should be incredibly proud of and will be.
“Our fans will show him incredible appreciation on Saturday because he justifiably deserves that.
“I know Mick really well. I consider him a friend and a good football person.
“It will be strange on Saturday – it will be the first time we’ve been against each other in a competitive match, though we did play them in a pre-season friendly last season and won comfortably. We have a laugh and a joke about that.
“It’s nice to see the people who have done so well for a football club get the acknowledgement. I’m sure our fans will show Micky they’re really thankful for the job he did here.
“He’s a good egg and I look forward to beating him on Saturday!”
Barton, who has a full complement to pick from, thinks Rovers have been somewhat of a sleeping giant.
The Merseyside club have had successive promotions and Barton said: “It’s a big club, Tranmere. I’m old enough to remember them coming very close to getting in the Premier League.
“Clint (Hill, his assistant) here has played in a League Cup final for Tranmere.
“In many regards Tranmere are a huge club compared to Fleetwood, albeit they’ve had a tough spell and had to scrap their way out of the Conference. Micky’s been at the hub of that.
“Back to back promotions are tough in any divisions and the Conference is notoriously difficult to get out of.”