Joey Barton’s message to Bristol Rovers players ahead of FA Cup clash

Barton’s Bristol Rovers side take on national league side Boreham Wood on Sunday, and the 40-year-old has admitted his focus is still fully on their league one campaign.

<p>Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton on the touchline during the Sky Bet League One match at Pride Park Stadium, Derby (Credit: PA)</p>

Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton on the touchline during the Sky Bet League One match at Pride Park Stadium, Derby (Credit: PA)

The Gas currently sit in 15th place, and look on course to avoid a relegation dogfight after last weekend’s victory over promotion favourites Peterborough United, and now having a week’s break from league action with the second round of the FA Cup.

“I said to the players, it’s your competition, some managers at this level drive it on a little bit more because it’s their chance to get into the limelight as a manager and raise your profile, but that’s last thing i need obviously. I said to the lads look the league campaign is our bread and butter,” Barton said.

Scott Sinclair’s goal was the only one of the game as Barton’s side beat Rochdale 1-0 in the first round, setting up the second round tie against Boreham Wood, a tie that on paper the Gas should be winning.

“If we don’t perform, I’ll be gutted clearly but I won’t be chewing them out like I would the league because for me the league this season is our priority but again, we’ve got a good opportunity to get in the third round and I’ll be frustrated should we not maximise that.”

“We’ll have to be fully focused and wired in which I expect us to be, if we are and we handle the occasion in the correct manner then the favouritism for the tie will be on us and rightly so.”

The FA Cup is famous for its shocks and the visitors tomorrow would know as much, beating Bournemouth and AFC Wimbledon in last season’s tournament before eventually being knocked out by premier league side Everton in the fifth round.

“For us it’s about taking care of our performance, taking care of our output. Unfortunately for Boreham wood if we play well they’re going to struggle to progress in the cup but again that’s entirely in our control and we have to make sure we turn up and professionally dispose of a lower league opposition.”

Rovers are also in the final 16 of the Papa Johns Trophy after beating Colchester United on Wednesday, leading to a hectic fixture schedule and a great chance to get to Wembley.

“The Papa Johns Trophy now, we’re flicked in because we’re in the knockout stages so we’ve changed our mindset a little bit towards it whereas for me, the FA Cup is solely for our players.”

“It’s a chance for them to test themselves against higher level opposition if you’re fortunate or good enough to get to that kind of stage, but there’s no pressure for me, if you want to have a good cup run, crack on and get after it.”