How Portsmouth have reacted to Joey Barton’s Bristol Rovers ban

Joey Barton won't be in attendance at Bristol Rovers season opener with Portsmouth.
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Portsmouth manager John Mousinho believes Fratton Park will be a ‘sadder place’ because of the absence of Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton.

Barton is serving the first of his three-game stadium ban which will see him matches miss Portsmouth, Ipswich and Barnsley. He will have to watch on from home whilst his trusted lutenant Andy Mangan oversees first-team affairs.

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The 40-year-old hasn’t been one to mince his words about Saturday’s hosts, and was critical of Mousinho’s predecessor for his preferred 4-4-2 formation. Cowley has since departed the club and now Mousinho in his first job in senior management is tasked with delivering promotion to the 2008 FA Cup winners.

In what could be a slight advantage to Portsmouth who will have their manager in the dugout, Mousinho believes Barton’s presence would have added to the spectacle of their 2023/24 League One curtain raiser.

Speaking to The News, he said: “‘I think it will be a sadder place.

“I always enjoy Joe’s company and he’s always been great to me. ‘We’ve always had a great relationship.

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“I think it’s a less colourful place without him around, and I reckon a few of our fans would have liked to have seen him at Fratton Park.

“Hopefully it’s good news for us and it pans out well, but I wouldn’t read too much into it. It’s just one of those things.”

Barton is a divisive figure to the Rovers fan base, but also to the wider football public, but from Mousinho’s previous encounters with him as a player and then as a manager, he has had nothing but good things to say about him.

He said: ‘That (his reputation) is certainly not my experience of him - and I’ve known him through a friend for a number of years now.

‘I’ve had nothing but good interactions with Joey and all of his coaching staff actually.

‘That’s been every time I’ve been involved with Bristol Rovers or Fleetwood - they’ve been absolutely fine.’

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