Barton back on familiar turf

Coventry midfielder Adam Barton started his career with Preston North End, playing 58 games and scoring three goals
Coventry midfielder Adam Barton started his career with Preston North End, playing 58 games and scoring three goals
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Former Preston midfielder Adam Barton is likely to be in the Coventry City squad which travels to Deepdale this weekend.

The Clitheroe kid made 58 appearances for PNE before being part of the cull in the summer of 2012.

Barton started off on the books of Blackburn before making the switch to North End’s youth system.

He turned professional and after a spell on loan with Crawley in their Conference days, his Lilywhites debut came against Scunthorpe in April 2010.

A head injury was to force him out of the action at the interval but he showed enough in that 45 minutes to suggest a promising future.

Barton was a regular the next season, scoring his first goal in Preston colours in a 4-3 defeat to Burnley.

He played 36 times that campaign, first under Darren Ferguson and then when Phil Brown took over.

At one stage the youngster was linked with a big-money move to Liverpool, with scouts of the Anfield club regular visitors to Preston matches.

The next season, as North End started life in League One after relegation, Barton was in and out of the team to start with.

He found the net in a 2-1 defeat at Southampton in the League Cup and in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy draw with Rochdale which PNE won on penalties – that was Thorsten Stuckmann’s debut.

Barton began to get more of a look-in after Brown’s sacking.

He played regularly in the first few weeks of Graham Westley’s reign but his progress was painfully halted by a serious injury suffered in a goalless draw with Walsall on February 25, 2012.

Sliding to try and stop a ball going out of play, Barton caught his studs in the turf and twisted awkwardly.

He suffered a broken leg and dislocated his ankle – that turned out to be his last game in Preston colours.

That summer, Barton joined Coventry on a free transfer.

So far he has played 57 games for the Sky Blues, finding the net three times.

Towards the end of last season he had a spell on loan at Fleetwood but did not make an appearance for them.

While not exactly a regular this term at Coventry, he has played 18 times. For their last two matches, Barton has been an unused sub and could be on the bench to face his former club on Saturday.

Barton is among quite a number of players who, down the years, have played for both PNE and Coventry.

Jamie Jones is of course on loan at the Ricoh Arena at the moment, having been pushed down the pecking order of goalkeepers at PNE.

Under the terms of his loan deal, Jones is not allowed to play in this game.

A long-serving Coventry keeper of the past, Jim Blyth, started his career at Deepdale.

He played one game for North End in the 1971/72 season before joining the Sky Blues, where he stayed for 10 years.

In that time, he was Scotland’s second-choice keeper at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

Kevin Kilbane, now a BBC pundit, started his career at Preston and finished it off at Coventry.

Sam Allardyce had a season’s stay with the Sky Blues in the early 1980s and later joined North End.

He was a key figure in John McGrath’s promotion-winning side of 1986/87.

Others to have pulled on the colours of both include Julian Darby, Terry Fleming, Kevin Gallacher, Dave Jones, Stephen Elliott and Ernie Hannigan.

Leon Clarke had a good goalscoring spell with Coventry after a rather under-whelming loan stay with Preston in 2011.

Clarke, who made a 
big-money move across the Midlands to Wolves in January 2014, joined Wigan on loan on transfer deadline day.