Joey Barton on respect for Bradford City boss Mark Hughes after previous disagreement at Queens Park Rangers

Barton has announced his respect for his former manager for dropping down three divisions to take the Bradford job
Mark Hughes will come up against one of his former players on Saturday. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)Mark Hughes will come up against one of his former players on Saturday. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
Mark Hughes will come up against one of his former players on Saturday. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton says he commends his former boss Mark Hughes for taking over at Bradford City.

Former Wales boss Hughes was the shock appointment at Valley Parade in February and sent shockwaves throughout the fourth tier.

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The 58-year-old had not managed outside of the Premier League throughout his career, managing the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Fulham and his last club Southampton.

“I have an enormous amount of respect for him as a football man,” said Barton in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s meeting.

“As a player, he played for Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea,

“If I’m honest with you, to see a manager who has managed Wales and managed in the Premier League for years.

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“To have the humility to drop down in the fourth tier to maybe get your name back in coaching and back on the horse, for me he gets nothing respect for me.

“No doubt to get him there they must have given him assurances about him and the summer and beyond. The players playing under him will probably want to be at Bradford’s size in the division.”

Barton’s stance has slightly changed from a few years back from where he had disagreed with his former bosses views on team selection.

The Gas boss had spent six months with the Bantams boss at Queens Park Rangers, where he was captain, as the two helped the Hoops to safety in the 2011/12 season.

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A sending off though in their final game in that dramatic Sergio Aguero title-winning moment, brought an end to his time with Hughes, as he was loaned out to Marseille after serving an 11-game ban.

Almost a decade has passed since the pair worked together and the home manager will offer respect to his opposition number on Saturday by offering a handshake.

“We didn’t agree with team selections, but he is a manager and I was a player,” Barton said.

“I wouldn’t say we will be on each other’s Christmas card list but look I’ve got an enormous respect for Mark.

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“Are we going to be civil towards each other? I would imagine so absolutely. I’ll offer my hand and whether he shakes it or not, I couldn’t tell you on that.

“He’s another manager and another team. There are no hard feelings. We didn’t see eye-to-eye when we were together. But there are probably a hundred other people that I could say that about whether I was with them or against.

“I know that they will be well drilled and well prepared because he has been an international and Premier League manager. The preparation will be way above that he is currently managing at.”

“I think it is going to be the most difficult game that we have had and we are preparing in that mind set.”

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