WE’LL BE READY FOR THE LIONS
Barton’s message ahead of televised FA Cup tie:
FLEETWOOD Town manager Joey Barton insists his troops will be fully prepared to go into the Lions’ den tomorrow night.
The Cod Army make the trip to National League North outfit Guiseley in the FA Cup second round and will be hot favourites to win through to the potentially lucrative third round.
But rookie boss Barton insists they will not underestimate the Lions, managed by former QPR defender Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill.
Indeed, the West Yorkshire outfit have already claimed an EFL scalp, running out 4-3 winners in a real thriller in the first round against Cambridge at Nethermoor Park.
“For us it’s about being professional and preparing for it the best we can,” said the 36-year-old former Manchester City and QPR midfielder. “The reality of it is, Guiseley will need us to have an off day and they’ll need to play close to their maximum in order to progress.
“We’re just intent on controlling what we can control. I’ll prepare the team exactly the same for Guiseley as I would for Manchester United. “They deserve the respect, they’re in the cup on merit. If you do have that little bit of complacency anywhere, the FA Cup can have a nasty habit of leaving you with egg on your face.”
The match takes place in front of the BT cameras and that means both clubs will pocket a £75,000 live broadcast fee. There is also £54,000 in prize money on offer to the winners and a place in the third round draw, which sees the Premier League fat-cats enter.
“We want to be in the third round of the competition, because we are a side that wants to test ourselves against higher level opposition,” added Barton.
Guiseley defender Cliff Moyo is relishing the chance to take on the League One outfit and is sure they can give the Cod Army a run for their money.
“It’s great publicity for us as players and it’s good for the club to get our name out there,” said the 25-year-old Zimbabwe international. “You’ve got to enjoy it and make the most of the moment.
“One of my friends played against Fleetwood recently – Josh Gordon at Walsall. They played at Fleetwood a couple of weeks ago so I’ve been grilling him to ask what they are like.
“Obviously, they’re a Football League team and you know what to expect. We’ve got to bring our A game and hopefully we can come away with a win.
“I wouldn’t say there’s any pressure on us. People probably didn’t expect us to beat Cambridge but we’ve got some good players who have been in League football or thereabouts and we stepped up to it.
“It’s a tougher opponent but in terms of the ability we have in our team, we’ve got a lot of belief in ourselves.”
And the PE teacher, who scored against Cambridge in the last round, has set his sights on going a stage further than ever before.
He added: “I’ve been in the second round with Halifax but unfortunately got knocked out. It’s great to be back there.
“It’s always difficult for Non-League teams but we’ve got that dream of, can we get to the third round?”
Before tomorrow night’s showdown (8pm), there are eight ties scheduled for this afternoon, all at 2pm.
All-EFL ties see Bury host Luton, Rochdale entertain Portsmouth and Shrewsbury take on Scunthorpe.
Gillingham, Grimsby, Swindon and Tranmere all face Non-League opposition. The Gills visit Slough, the Mariners go to Chesterfield, the Robins host Woking and Rovers face Southport in an eagerly anticipated derby.
There’s also an all-Non League tie between Barnet and Stockport.
BOOST: Fleetwood warmed up for their FA Cup tie with a 3-0 win against Coventry in midweek LAUGH: Joey Barton, left, with Coventry boss Mark Robins