Barnsley FC head coach Michael Duff opens up on former Burnley team-mate and Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton ahead of League One reunion

BARNSLEY head coach Michael Duff says he is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with former Burnley team-mate Joey Barton on Saturday afternoon - and is expecting his Bristol Rovers side to possess traits that the midfielder possessed in his playing days.

Duff and Rovers chief Barton were team-mates during the Clarets Championship title-winning season of 2015-16 and while Barton is viewed with scepticism in certain quarters in the football world, his ex-colleague has nothing but kind words to say about him and his work.

Back in December 2021, Barton was found not guilty of attacking former Barnsley head coach Daniel Stendel after a match at Oakwell in April 2019, when he was managing Fleetwood.

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Duff said: "I played with Joey for a year and he was brilliant. It was the year we won the league. There's a lot of noise about Joey and everyone makes a lot of noise.

Joey Barton. Picture: Getty Images.Joey Barton. Picture: Getty Images.
Joey Barton. Picture: Getty Images.

"But you treat people as you find them. He came into a set environment, which I think is important, and I think if you asked Joey, he absolutely loved his time at Burnley because the culture was set and he did what he does, he was a very good player, a leader who was tough and demanding.

"I'd imagine he has taken all those traits into his management career as he got into management pretty early and he has had a pretty successful stint.

"I get on well with Joey. He's always good for a soundbite, I do know that! But he's gone down there and they have a way of playing and he seems to have the support of everyone at the football club (Bristol Rovers).

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"It was a bit of a mess and disruptive when he first went in, but he seems to have brought it all together.

"He will want to be higher in the league because I know what type of personality he is, but if you take a step back and have a look, they got relegated and get straight back at the first time of asking and have full houses.

"To be comfortably midtable in your first season(back), then you'll probably take that."

It is Barnsley's first game at the Memorial Stadium since a joyous end-of-season party there in 2018-19.