Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton will pay Hillsborough respects ahead of Sheffield Wednesday clash

Joey Barton looks ahead to Bristol Rovers’ trip to Hillsborough to face Sheffield Wednesday
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Joey Barton has admitted that he ‘can’t bear’ going to Hillsborough due to his Liverpool connections as his Bristol Rovers side prepares to face Sheffield Wednesday. His team make the trip to South Yorkshire on Wednesday evening and the game is being shown live on Sky Sports.

The stadium was the location of the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989 when 97 Liverpool fans lost their lives during the FA Cup semi-final between the Reds and Nottingham Forest. Merseyside-born Barton has said he will be visiting the memorial outside the ground to lay flowers and pay their respects beforehand.

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He has said: “I can’t bear the stadium, obviously you can imagine from Liverpool in 1989. It gives me a really bad feel whenever I go anywhere in it. You can’t help but feel affected by that. I know Sheffield is a fantastic footy city and I love Sheffield Wednesday as a club, they’re massive underachievers because they’re a huge club. When I was a kid I remember them being in FA Cup finals and them always being in the Premier League.

“It is a great city Sheffield. Two really good football clubs. We’ll go to the (Hillsborough) memorial and we’ll put some flowers down to pay our respects. Hopefully we can turn in a big performance but yeah, it is one of the few stadiums that I would just rather not visit. When you walk down the Leppings Lane End it’s just eerie because it’s the scene of a crime.”

Bristol Rovers go into the game against Sheffield Wednesday on the back of their 2-2 draw with table toppers Plymouth Argyle last time out. Barton has delivered his verdict on Darren Moore’s side:

“They’ve got some really talented boys. Josh Windass played with me at Rangers, he’s a talented kid. Obviously, (Michael) Smith the boy they took from Rotherham and Lee Gregory, the quality of Barry Bannan and Will Vaulks, (they’re a) top side. Hillsborough will be full hopefully on Wednesday, then again it’s on Sky so I don’t know.

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“They’ll be expected to beat us, a newly promoted team. We’ll go there with a spring in our step because of the second-half (against Plymouth). We’ll have absolutely no fear, we’ll go there and attack them. We’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose.”

The Pirates are currently 13th in the League One table after picking up 19 points from their opening 15 games. They are only five points off the play-offs and are unbeaten in their last five outings.

Sheffield Wednesday, on the other hand, are 3rd in the division and drew 1-1 away at Lincoln City in their last clash. They five points off the top and three points away from the top two.

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