Former Newcastle man relishing Sunderland battles in 'tough' League One

Joey Barton is looking forward to taking on Sunderland
Joey Barton is looking forward to taking on Sunderland

Joey Barton has only just stepped into management, but is already anticipating the chance to take on Sunderland.

The former Newcastle midfielder was officially unveiled as Fleetwood Town's new manager yesterday in what is his first managerial role.

It marks a return to football for the 35-year-old who was banned from all football activity for 18 months after admitting an FA charge in relation to betting.

And now he is back in the game, Barton is keen to get stuck in to what he feels will be an incredibly competitive League One.

The Cod Army will take on recently-relegated Sunderland in a game which takes on special significance for Barton.

But the Black Cats are just one of the big sides that Barton will have to tackle next season - something he knows only too well.

“League One is a very very competitive league, an incredibly tough environment," admitted Barton.

“There's some massive clubs in League One next season.

“The likes of your Sunderland, who will still be on a kind of parachute payment structure.

“So I'm looking forward to, as a former Newcastle player, to certainly test my tactical wits against the might of Sunderland.

And those tests will help prepare Barton for his new goal in football as he dreams of becoming one of 'the best in the world' in managerial circles.

“I tend not to do things the same way as everybody else," he added.

"For me life is exciting and this is an exciting part of my journey.

“We all have dreams and ambitions as a kid. Mine was to play for England and play in the Premier League.

“I now want to be the best manager I can possibly be, dreaming about being one of the best in the world.”