‘Send them back with tears in their eyes!’: Joey Barton challenges Fleetwood to inflict misery on Sunderland fans

Joey Barton wants to send Sunderland fans home with 'tears in their eyes'
Joey Barton wants to send Sunderland fans home with 'tears in their eyes'
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Joey Barton admits he isn’t expecting a warm reception from Sunderland fans when they travel to Fleetwood this evening - but that he would relish sending them home with ‘tears in their eyes’

The former Newcastle United midfielder will be aiming to inflict only a fourth league defeat of the campaign on the Black Cats as he looks to sign-off his first season in the dugout in style.

And while the Black Cats - who still have an outside chance of automatic promotion - are heavy favourites, Barton believes his side should hold no fear when facing their more experienced counterparts this evening.

“You look at Fleetwood as a town and there are more people in Sunderland’s ground when they have a sell-out,” said the Fleetwood boss, speaking to the Blackpool Gazette.

“The challenge here is that this is a relatively new club in football terms. We don’t have hundreds of years or traditions.

“What we have got is an ambitious owner [Andy Pilley, who believes in the town, the progress the club is making and we don’t fear anyone.

“It will be a fantastic occasion to test yourself against players who have played in the Premier League and the Championship.

“We have nothing to lose, everything to gain, and as a former Newcastle player I expect to get a very ‘friendly’ reception.

“It would be very pleasing to send them back with tears in their eyes.”

Barton is expecting a sizeable travelling contingent to follow Sunderland down from Wearside - and believes the atmosphere will provide a ‘great occasion’ for his players.

Indeed, he is hopeful that the Cod Army can replicate the performance that earned them a point from their visit to the Stadium of Light in September.

“They will probably bring hordes down from the north-east,” added Barton.

“ It’s a game that they have to win to have a chance of the automatic positions.

“Again, it’s a great occasion for the players to test themselves, especially the younger players.

“It will be a full house, though I’m not sure what weather we will get but there’s a good chance it will be windy.

“There’s a great playing surface, playing against one of the better sides in the division. At the Stadium of Light we caused a lot of problems for large periods.

“Hopefully we get a bit of decent weather and give another good performance.”