New Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton is looking forward to the challenge of taking on Sunderland in League One next season – labelling it a ‘David v Goliath’ clash.
The former Newcastle United midfielder will come against his old rivals after landing his first managerial job with the Lancashire side.
Barton insists he can take on the big boys with Fleetwood, who have had a meteoric rise over the last decade from non-league footbal.
Barton said: “In football, if you have not got finance you have to have a phenomenal culture and working environment.
“That is one thing I can promise the players – they will love coming to training. We have to get the fans coming to the stadium loving our output. If you do that, it is success.
“It is so hard to win trophies and everybody in football deems that as success, but only a select band of teams can win trophies every season.
“We have 25,000 people in Fleetwood and Sunderland’s stadium holds 40,000.
“They are going to come down with their second tranche of parachute payments from the Premier League, which I think is about £28million, so they are at a huge advantage to us financially.
“In that case we have to do everything in our power that we can control to close that gap. It is David v Goliath.
“If you’d said 10 years ago that Fleetwood would play Sunderland in the league, people would probably have laughed in your face.
“But once August 4 comes that is what we are going to be faced with.
“But I’m confident, with the right processes in place. David sometimes can slay Goliath and that has to be our attitude.”
The League One fixtures are released on Thursday, June 21.
Barton, who also played for Manchester City and Rangers, was announced as Fleetwood boss after his ban for breaching betting regulations ended last week.