Joey Barton is never one to shy away from controversy and has happily brought the Newcastle and Sunderland rivalry into his side’s match against the Black Cats this evening.
Sunderland go into the game knowing nothing less than a win will suffice if they’re to keep up their hopes of a top two finish, but Barton is hoping to dash their hopes with his Fleetwood side.
The controversial manager is a one-time Newcastle United player and he’s sure he’ll get a warm reception from the visiting supporters in a game he’s very much looking forward to.
He’s hoping to make it an occasion for the visiting fans to shed tears over, something he will take great delight in, should it happen.
“It will be a fantastic occasion to test yourself against players who have played in the Premier League and the Championship,” he told the Blackpool Gazette.
“We have nothing to lose, everything to gain, and as a former Newcastle player I expect to get a very ‘friendly’ reception. It would be very pleasing to send them back with tears in their eyes.”
Fleetwood are without a win in five and saw their slim play-off hopes disappear as a result. The two sides have already met at the Stadium of Light, where Paddy Madden’s opener was cancelled out by a Josh Maja strike.
Barton is clever in some respects. Not so much in the way he conducts himself around other managers, but he knows stoking the fire here might invoke some passion in his players.
They’ve nothing to play for, but as a former Magpie, Barton will be keen to consign the visitors to the play-offs. If he does, he’ll be even more of a pantomime villain next season.
Thoughts? Let us know!