Joey Barton believes Fleetwood Town’s opening day clash at Peterborough United could be a promotion six-pointer come the end of the season.
Barton is impressed by Darren Ferguson’s recruitment this summer but believes both teams will be battling it out at the top end of League One – particularly if Town learn the lessons of last season.
When asked if he expected Peterborough to compete for promotion, Barton said: “You would think so, they will be there or thereabouts.
“They finished the season in a good vein.
“Darren came in midway through it, changed Steve Evans’ mentality to his mentality.
“We were fortunate to get a point against them late in the game because they were good on that occasion at Highbury.
“We know the qualities they have got with Siriki Dembele and Marcus Maddison, Mohamed Eisa who they have just broken the club record for, and Ivan Toney.
“Those four players in this division will always carry a threat.
“Off the back of that, George Boyd has gone in there; a former team-mate of mine, Alex Woodyard in midfield and strengthened in the backline with (Dan) Butler the boy from Newport County, Frankie Kent and Mark Beevers from Bolton.
“They will be strong, they always will be, but so are we.
“You could look at Saturday’s game as a very vital game, maybe even a six-pointer in the race for promotion. That is how we see it.
“We will go as close as we possibly can, and if we learn the lessons we had to learn last year, I think we are not a million miles away.”
Last season, Town were beaten by AFC Wimbledon on the opening day.
Since then, Barton has transformed his squad, and with new signings Josh Morris, Danny Andrew, Paul Coutts, Jordan Rossiter, Peter Clarke, Matt Gilks, as well as loan duo Lewie Coyle and Harry Souttar all raring to go, Barton feels they will cause the Posh problems.
He said: “We’ve got to play each team twice over the course of a season.
“Last year I thought, if you look at it, we had Wimbledon at home that I thought we should win; we got beaten on the day.
“It is a game where you look at it and you think, no matter when you go to Peterborough, it is going to be a tough fixture.
“They are a good side, they have spent heavily again.
“Having watched them, if we execute what we have executed in pre-season and the lads do what we do naturally, then we will cause them many problems on Saturday.”