Pompey’s Barton relishes returning to Sky Blues’ true home

Former Coventry player Adam Barton
Former Coventry player Adam Barton
Kyle Bennett. Picture: Joe Pepler

Football’s a family affair for Pompey man

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Adam Barton has the curious distinction of representing Coventry City at two home grounds in two different counties.

These days the Sky Blues have settled back at the Ricoh Arena, much to the 25-year-old’s delight.

And tonight he is looking forward to revisiting, even if his affiliation is with visiting Pompey.

Barton made 73 appearances and scored three goals during a three-year spell with Coventry.

The middle of that period coincided with the League One club embroiled in a dispute with the managers of the Ricoh.

It resulted in relocation to Northampton’s Sixfields Stadium for the entirety of the 2013-14 campaign.

Thankfully, following a season serving as tenants 34 miles away, the Sky Blues returned to the city.

Tonight hands Barton a reunion in the first round of the EFL Cup (7.45pm) as Pompey seek victory.

And the versatile performer still recalls an interesting three seasons spent in the midlands.

He said: ‘During my second season we had gone from the Ricoh as a home ground with lots of fans attending to playing away every single week.

‘It was tough. The fans didn’t want to go so suddenly we had around 1,500 attending our games compared to the usual 8-10,000. A very strange time.

‘We would drive 40-50 minutes away from the city and then arrive for what felt almost like a friendly game, there were hardly any of our fans there.

‘Sixfields doesn’t hold that many while the Coventry fans wouldn’t go, so this small stadium was almost empty.

‘Fair play to them, they all wanted to support the club but refused to enter the ground so would stand on a hill overlooking it.

‘The situation wasn’t anything to do with the players but about how the place was run and the fact we were now at Northampton.

‘Game-wise, though, for the players it helped, we had no kind of pressure in games, suddenly there weren’t thousands of fans shouting.

‘For my final season we were back at the Ricoh and I was so pleased for the supporters – they didn’t want to attend home matches 34 miles away.

‘A lot of things happened in my time there and tonight I’m looking forward to seeing the younger players I know who have come through into the first-team.’

Barton is scheduled for his first outing of the season, having been an unused substitute against Carlisle.

He will line up in the centre of defence alongside Tom Davies as Paul Cook shuffles his side.