Joey Barton catapulted into favourite for Sheffield Wednesday job after leaving Fleetwood Town

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 05 January 2021, 09:09

The managerial merry-go-round can work in strange and mysterious ways.

On Monday we wrote a detailed piece on the candidates for the Sheffield Wednesday job; from Paul Cook and Danny Cowley, to Jose Morais and even Sven Goran Eriksson.

Yet there was no mention of Joey Barton.

Come the afternoon, news broke that Fleetwood Town had surprisingly parted ways with Barton - the short club statement giving no clues as to why the decision had taken place.

In the blink-of-an-eye Barton had been installed as a 16/1 shot for the Sheffield Wednesday job, while his name (12/1) also sprang into contention for the newly opened Port Vale post following John Askey’s exit.

In relation to the Owls vacancy, Barton’s odds continued to dwindle through the evening, with the 38-year-old catapulted to the summit of the market where he remains on Tuesday morning; at 5/4 with Bet Victor.

Barton can look back on an impressive first stint in management, during which he propelled Fleetwood into the League One play-offs last season.

His side began the current campaign with four straight league and cup wins, which was then contrasted with four consecutive defeats. He went on to card eight wins from 13 matches, before falling to back-to-back defeats, which Fleetwood have responded to with a five game unbeaten run.

Postponed fixtures means the club haven’t played since Boxing Day and while 10th place may be disappointing to some fans, the league is so close that Fleetwood are only within three points of the play-off places - it’s a job that is likely to attract attention from potential suitors.

Therefore, a dismissal based on results seems rather harsh, whereas a number of outlets believe Barton’s exit was actually due to a fallout with striker Ched Evans.

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Could Joey Barton be set for a swift return to the dugout?

Who knows? Barton may have resigned from the role with an eye on leaping up a division to the Championship with Sheffield Wednesday, who are looking for their third manager of the season following the dismissals of Garry Monk and Tony Pulis.

However, this tweet by Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley insinuates that it was the club’s decision to end the partnership:

Barton has yet to comment.

On Monday, we spoke about how a number of contenders for the Sheffield Wednesday post could potentially be put off at the trigger-happy nature of the club’s owner Dejphon Chansiri, who has been less than flattering towards Monk and Pulis after he sacked the pair.

You get the feeling that a combination of Chansiri and Barton would be fireworks.

But, while many expected Barton to fail in management, the 38-year-old has more than proved himself in the dugout, particularly last season when his side conjured up an impressive 12 game unbeaten run before play was curtailed in March.

However, Barton never strays too far away from controversy, and currently has a court case pending over an alleged assault on former Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel during the closing months of the 2018/19 season.

It’s certainly going to be an interesting few weeks and while Barton-to-Sheffield Wednesday may not come to fruition - his court case takes place in June - the 38-year-old is likely to be a frequent fixture in any upcoming Football League manager markets.

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