EFL boss defends Sunderland after Joey Barton lashed out

Coventry City manager Mark Robins has waded into the argument between Joey Barton and Sunderland, claiming accusations of long-ball tactics are perhaps linked to the Fleetwood manager’s previous spell with Newcastle United.

Sunderland and Fleetwood shared a 1-1 draw at the weekend, with Max Power snatching a point for the Mackems in the 97th minute of the game. That prompted Barton to lash out and accuse Phil Parkinson’s side of being ‘hoof ball’ merchants.

Robins is readying his troops for their encounter with Sunderland this weekend and he suggested Barton’s words were perhaps motivated by a dislike of the Wearsiders.

“I think that maybe had something to do with his Newcastle past, but I don’t know,” Robins told Coventry Live.

“Managers say things at times and we’re all competitive and it does certain things to you at times and you look back and think, ‘dear me.’

“But I don’t think they are necessarily that. They have got some good and talented players and I am looking forward to the game which should be a really good spectacle.”

The game at the Ricoh sees second=placed City facing off against a Sunderland side currently fourth in the table, a game which ironically will benefit Fleetwood either way, who are chasing the play-offs in seventh place.

Our View

We like Mark Robins, he’s done a great job over the last few years at Coventry and he won’t get involved in spats he doesn’t need too. He’s respectful, experienced and will likely take his team to the Championship, where they belong.

That’s more or less the complete opposite of Joey Barton, although it is hard to say he hasn’t done a decent job at Fleetwood, but he’s an irritator. As for Sunderland being long ball, they’re certainly more direct than they were under Jack Ross earlier in the season, but they’re winning more games too. Success isn’t always pretty.


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