Joey Barton on how Fleetwood turned it around against Sunderland and why a former Black Cat was key

Joey Barton hailed former Black Cats Ross Wallace as a 'credit to his profession' after a stellar second-half showing against Sunderland.

Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 9:58 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 10:05 am
Joey Barton said his side were 'hungrier' on Tuesday night
Joey Barton said his side were 'hungrier' on Tuesday night

Wallace was playing in a central midfield role unfamiliar to those who watched him star on the left win under Roy Keane on Wearside.

After a difficult first half the Scot, who joined Fleetwood back in September, grew into the game and was influential in both goals.

"He's had a mixed season because he missed pre-season, but he's come in and played so many minutes for us," Barton said.

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"He had a little shaky spell two or three weeks ago and he's looking at me like he might need a rest.

"I just said, you're not getting one, you're playing.

"He's responded. I thought he was superb for us against Bristol Rovers on Saturday and I thought that was his best game for us.

"As it wore on, we were shouting from the sidelines, get it to Ross, because he was making something happen every time he got it," he added.

"It's no coincidence it's him who is involved in both goals.

"I'm delighted for him, he's been a credit to his profession and long may it continue."

The Black Cats were by far the better team in the first half but faded in the second.

Barton had changed the shape of his side at half time, bringing on midfielder Jack Sowerby.

Sunderland struggled to create chances and though the home side rarely tested Jon Mclaughlin, they had the better of the play before scoring a late winner.

Barton said he thought his side looked 'hungrier'.

"I'm delighted for the lads," he said.

"We were up against in the first half, we'd played so well on Saturday that we didn't want to make a tactical tweak.

"With Ched Evans and Harry Souttar out it was always going to be tough.

"We made a subtle change at half time, poor Eddie Clarke missed out because we couldn't have to left-backs on the pitch, through no fault of his own.

"I challenged the lads to dig a performance out and I think anyone at the Stadium will have seen, even before we got the goal we looked the hungrier side. We looked like the side that was trying to win to get automatic promotion, so I'm delighted.

"I can't speak any more highly of them."