Sunderland striker's goal prompts extraordinary Joey Barton rant after training ground debacle

Sunderland drew against Hull City at the KCOM Stadium last night.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 11:12 am

Despite halting a three-game back-to-back losing run, Lee Johnson’s men have not won since Good Friday when they defeated 10-man Oxford United at the Stadium of Light.

Here, though, we take you through all of the latest news and talk from around the division:

Sunderland loanee ends 10-game goalless run against Joey Barton’s Bristol Rovers

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Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton looks on prior to the Sky Bet League One match between Northampton Town and Bristol Rovers at PTS Academy Stadium on April 10, 2021 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Will Grigg ended his 10-game goalless run at Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night as MK Dons defeated Joey Barton’s side.

While goals have been in shot supply for him, Grigg's performances of late have drawn praise from his manager and team-mates who felt he was desperately unlucky not to score against Portsmouth, when he saw two cleared off the line. And though it wasn't the prettiest way of getting back on the scoresheet at the Memorial Stadium, Grigg said it was a relief just to find the back of the net again.

"They all count, so to get a nice, easy one was brilliant!" he said. "I was disappointed to miss those chances against Portsmouth. I felt I've been playing OK, but it was time I got a lucky break.

"I appreciate the praise I was getting but I'm a striker and I'm judged on goals.

"I class myself as a goal-scorer, so going a few games without a goal was disappointing. The performances have been there but I'm really pleased with the goal tonight - I'll take a few more!"

MK Dons manager Russell Martin added: "He deserves the goal. We created a lot of chances, got in some good areas, but it was a sign that we score the ugliest one! I'm delighted it fell to him.

"He contributes hugely. There's a lack of ego, he's bought into it, he's really valuable to us. He's a guy we really like, he really suits what we do and he's getting better with every game. He has stepped up, got an assist tonight as well. He got the goal he deserves though."

Joey Barton launches scathing attack at own players following loss to MK Dons

Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton has launched a scathing attack on his own players following last night’s loss to MK Dons.

The former Newcastle United midfielder says he is now resigned to relegation and has made some stunning claims about the conduct of his players.

“It’s going to hurt and I’m not sure if there’s enough in that dressing room that (are) hurt and that’s a huge worry,” Barton said. “I don’t think some of them understand the ramifications of having a relegation on their CV.

“We can talk all we want but once you walk across the white line you’ve got to see a good performance. They can blame a whole manner of things but as a player, it all comes down to you.

“You’ve got to be fit to do your job. A professional is someone who turns up and gets the job done, regardless of how he feels and I feel as though there are a couple of them in there who are fortunate to be professional footballers.

“In 12 months, I think some of them would be very fortunate to still be a professional, because if they don’t put in the hard yards and respect the game or your profession then you end up with what’s happened to us, which is an abject showing, and with three games to go we’re all but relegated out of the division and I don’t think some of them deserve to play for a football club with a fanbase like this.

“We’ve got to figure out over these next three games who’s going to come along on this journey and who’s going to be let go because we’re not running a charity here. Based across the last 43 games, this has looked like a bit of a charity.”

Barton continued: “As the manager, everything stops with you and I have to take all of the responsibility of this so it’s tough and we’ve got to do some long, hard thinking. But I’m all in to turn this sinking ship around because it’s like the Titanic at the moment.

“We’ve made a fist of it, but you can’t turn water into wine and in this game you live and die on your recruitment

“We were not good enough today, right across the board. That’s why I had to make three changes at half time.

“Not good enough. Fake footballers. Don’t deserve to be playing for this football club, lots of them here, and they need to get better.

“We’ve rectified elements of it since we’ve come in, because we’ve had to lay the law down.

“My first day at the training ground, there’s 11 pouches of chewing tobacco on the floor on the training pitch.

“I have had to say to some of the lads “what is going on here?” Credit to some of them, some have changed and turned, but the damage is done if in February I’m having to tell you to stop sticking 43g of nicotine under your top lip.

“Not just one player, by the way, double figures. It’s not good enough. It shouldn’t be happening in professional football, and they should be embarrassed to call themselves professional footballers, some of them.

“We’re in the predicament we’re in because a lot of them don’t know what is required in this game. You have to do the hard yards, there’s no shortcuts to be successful in this game.”