Jack Baldwin hails Joey Barton's impact as ex-Sunderland defender prepares for reunion with Bristol Rovers
Jack Baldwin says that Joey Barton has ‘noticeably’ increased standards at Bristol Rovers – as the centre back prepares to face former club Sunderland.
The 27-year-old was released by the Black Cats last summer and was quickly snapped up by the Gas.
But Baldwin is now playing under his third manager at the Memorial Stadium – with Ben Garner and Paul Tisdale having been dismissed earlier in the term as the side slid down the table.
While still embroiled in a relegation battle, the defender believes new boss Barton has lifted the mood and standards around the club.
"The staff have come in and lifted the spirits around the camp, the standards have gone up noticeably which probably should’ve come from us players earlier on,” he admitted, speaking to the Bristol Post.
"Now we’ve got people driving it from all around the changing room and we can only get better from here, so the future is definitely positive.
With the games coming thick and fast there’s not too much we can work on but when we do get time to work on stuff its to a high standard and the messages are being portrayed in a clear and thoughtful way.”
Baldwin has been a regular in recent weeks, with an injury to Cian Harries and the continued omission of Max Ehmer handing him an opportunity.
And he looks set to start in the backline against Sunderland on Saturday – with the former Peterborough United man looking to continue the ‘good spell’ of form he is currently enjoying.
“Like you say, it’s been a tricky season with everything that’s going on externally as well and you’ve got to try to create your own atmosphere on the pitch,’ added Baldwin.
“Sometimes, having the fans in gives you that kick up the backside that you may need, but as soon as we cross the line, we’ve got to put in our best performances week in week out. But like you say, I’m enjoying a good spell at the minute.
“Players come and go in football, it’s unfortunate for Cian (Harries) who picked up the injury but with the games Saturday and Tuesday, these things do happen. I’ve said it before, as professionals we’ve got to keep ourselves in the best possible shape and remain mentally switched on.”