Joey Barton's admission ahead of Fleetwood's trip to Portsmouth next week
Joey Barton has questioned Fleetwood’s mentality as they prepare for a trip to Pompey next week.
The Cod Army have enjoyed an encouraging start to the League One campaign, sitting fifth in the table after 15 games.
But while Fleetwood have been impressive on their own patch, their away form has let them down.
They’ve won just twice on the road all season and fell to a 2-1 loss at basement-side Bolton on Saturday.
The Blues, meanwhile, are unbeaten at Fratton Park and delivered a comfortable 4-1 triumph over Southend on Tuesday night.
Before Fleetwood travel to the south coast on Saturday, November 16 – that's if the fixture goes ahead due to the international break falling the same weekend – both sides are in FA Cup action against National League opposition.
Barton’s men visit Barnet on Sunday, while Kenny Jackett’s troops make the long journey to Harrogate a day later.
And the Cod Army manager has demanded a response to ensure his side go into the their clash against Pompey with a win under their belt.
Barton told the Blackpool Gazette: ‘I just don’t think our players can handle the mentality of it, if I’m being honest.
‘Until they start showing the level of maturity that’s needed to push on, we need to stay in that one-game-at-a- time mindset.
‘We’ve got a tough fixture against Barnet next in the FA Cup, which is the lifeblood of clubs like us.
‘We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves but we also won’t get too disappointed. We’re gutted that we haven’t won the game at Bolton but it’s not fatal.
‘We have to make sure that people keep learning lessons, and if they don’t it’s my job to remove them and find someone who can.
‘It’s about moments –that’s what’s turning my hair the shade of grey it’s starting to go. If I’m not careful it will be falling out soon!
‘It’s one of those where you know they’re capable of it – we see it on the training ground. It’s just about doing it when it matters.
‘We’ve got lads who are capable of doing it for 87, 88 minutes but you can’t have five seconds off . You can’t have a second off – this is football.
‘Once you go into the next ecosystem of the Championship, if you have half a second off you get punished.
‘If you go into the Premier League and even think about switching off you get done.’