Joey Barton believes this is the REAL reason Sunderland postponed their clash with Fleetwood Town

Joey Barton believes Sunderland are scared of his Fleetwood Town side – and knew there would only be ‘one outcome’ if they played during the international break

Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 2:50 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 3:50 pm
Joey Barton believes Sunderland are scared of his Fleetwood side

The Black Cats yesterday made the decision to postpone their clash with the Cod Army, which was originally scheduled for October 12, after Jon McLaughlin, Conor McLaughlin and Tom Flanagan were handed international call-ups.

But Barton has blasted the decision, suggesting that Sunderland knew they would suffer defeat if his side made the visit to Wearside.

Indeed, he feels it is a ‘smart’ decision and admits he would have done the same were he in Jack Ross’ shoes.

Sign up to our Sunderland AFC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Barton’s side have begun the season strongly, and currently sit third in League One having lost just twice in the third tier.

Sunderland failed to beat the Cod Army last season – drawing at home before suffering a late defeat at Highbury – and Barton believes his new-look side are the ‘last team’ the Black Cats will want to face this term.

And that, he feels, is the real reason why Sunderland opted to postpone the game.

“It’s a strange one because we were really looking forward to the game,” he said, speaking ahead of Fleetwood’s trip to Ipswich Town.

“At this moment, we’ll beat anyone, anywhere at any time.

“Smartly, Sunderland have decided to rearrange the game. If I was in their position and looked at their momentum, our momentum, their team and our team I would have done the same.

“If Joey Barton and Fleetwood rock into town and do what we can do and what we showed last season at home and away, with a group which is nowhere near as strong as it is now, for Jack Ross, we are the last team that you want to face given their situation.

“They have to play us at some time because you have to play everyone twice.

“It’s smart to avoid us, because they know if they play us now there’s only one outcome.”

A new date for the fixture is yet to be confirmed.