Four key factors behind Joey Barton's success at Fleetwood Town

James Richards by James Richards / 25 November 2019, 09:15

When Joey Barton was handed the managerial position at Fleetwood Town, it came as quite a shock. The midfielder had not long finished playing and his career had ended in some controversy.

The line of thought from most observers was his time in the dugout could go one of two ways. Firstly, he would be a resounding success and lead the Cod Army to glory or, secondly, it would all end in disaster.

His first season at Highbury was actually somewhere between the two - a slightly frustrating foray towards the play-offs but not enough consistency to break into the top six.

This campaign, however, looks as though he will lead them one better and take his firing fish into a play-off place.

There are several reasons Joey Barton appears to be making a success of management, here are four key areas we have picked out...

Perfect squad balance

The Fleetwood squad has a lovely balance of age and youth. The thinking behind bringing in seasoned pros is clear. They know what is required to be successful with most of them having played at a much higher level than League One at some point during their career.

Dean Marney played in the Premier League with Spurs and Hull City while Peter Clarke, signed this summer, spent several seasons in the Championship with Huddersfield as well as playing a smattering of games with Everton in the top-flight.

They have the character to help bring the best out of younger players within the squad. Harry Souttar already looks like he will be a top-class defender but he will only improve playing next to Clarke, much like George Edmundson did at Oldham.

The energy, experience and overall quality of this Fleetwood side is a credit to the work Barton has done in his relatively short time in charge.

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Improving the weakest link

Last season was far from a disaster for the Trawlermen and Barton was shrewd enough to recognise only small tweaks were needed to get better rather than a complete overhaul.

Many potentially good squads are often ripped apart unnecessarily following a decent, but not spectacular, campaign.

What Barton did this summer was add a couple of quality additions to improve their weakest areas.

Danny Andrew arrived at full-back while the technically gifted Josh Morris returned after a spell at Scunthorpe. Jordan Rossiter is a classy, tenacious midfielder who reflects Barton’s own energy from his playing days. He arrived on loan from Rangers and Ched Evans is back on a permanent contract.

All have made the team better, giving their manager some wonderful options and strong depth.

Attacking impetus 

Any side with Ched Evans and Paddy Madden are going to score goals and Fleetwood have certainly done this in 2019-20 so far.

29 goals in 16 games put Fleetwood behind only Peterborough and Oxford in the scoring charts and they are getting them from a number of different situations.

With the likes of Madden, Evans, Burns, Hunter et al you know they are going to create chances and with 18 goals from open play, again behind only the aforementioned clubs, it shows they can work openings for their talented strike force to exploit.

Fleetwood have also netted eight times from set-piece situations with only Rotherham and Wycombe able to better than number. Barton clearly has them working on these routines in training and it is paying dividends.

Passion

Joey Barton is an intelligent man and very passionate (sometime a little over zealous for sure) which makes people want to play for him.

He is getting the best out of his squad and has an ability to pull players to Fleetwood who would not normally consider joining a smaller club.

This has given them a real opportunity to push on this season making 2019-20 one of the most intriguing and exciting for some time.

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