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Smooth Operator

When is Barton back

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23rd September


Doubt he'll be back by then. He'll have to play 2 or 3 reserve matches first.


One thing that is crystal clear with Big Sam is that he doesnt rush players back from injury or lack of fitness

Edited by sandman02uk

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JOEY Barton is on track to make his Premier League debut for Newcastle at the club he quit under a cloud this summer as the midfielder prepares to increase his involvement at United’s training ground.


Sam Allardyce’s £5.8m signing fractured the fifth metatarsal in his left foot during his second pre-season appearance in Magpies colours at Carlisle but, having been sidelined ever since, Barton has made significant progress in recent days.


A player who is confident that his time in the treatment room is nearing an end is hoping to be given the go-ahead to resume running next week. That would put Barton in line to make his comeback at Manchester City’s Eastlands home – a venue he departed in controversial circumstances this summer.


The 25-year-old left the Premier League club for Newcastle following an incident in which it is alleged that he attacked Ousmane Dabo, at that time a team-mate, during a routine training session.


It is an accusation Barton has denied and having pleaded not guilty during an appearance before magistrates last month, the England international has vowed to clear his name. He is scheduled to return to court in



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Manchester on October 4. The energetic schemer hopes he will be playing again before that date and it is perhaps inevitable that his first competitive appearance in a black-and-white shirt could come in what is certain to be an uncomfortable environment.


Barton last played at the City of Manchester Stadium on April 28, prior to the club suspension imposed on him following an incident that prompted a police investigation. Given his training schedule, it seems his next appearance could also be there, albeit in much different circumstances.


The initial prognosis was that Barton would be ruled out for six weeks but a player who made a promising start to his Newcastle career before misfortune struck at Brunton Park is well into his eighth week on the sidelines.


It has proved to be a frustrating experience, but the midfielder hopes the end is in sight.


Allardyce’s team will end the month with three games in seven days (against West Ham, Arsenal and City) and a United boss keen to use a strong squad to good effect will hope he has sufficient options at his disposal.


Barton is keen to offer his services as soon as possible and is understood to be pleased with his recent progress. Having spent last week in Portugal with Damien Duff working on a special recuperation programme, an industrious operator has been back in the gym at the club’s training ground this week and is hoping to step up his efforts further. Given that he is not yet running, next weekend’s home match against West Ham will come too soon. But the following weekend’s game against some familiar faces appears a realistic target.


Allardyce will check on his international contingent this morning. James Milner and Steven Taylor were back from Under-21 duties with England last night. Michael Owen, Alan Smith, Charles N’Zogbia, Emre, Shay Given and David Rozehnal will join them later.


The Magpies boss will also seek to offer his congratulations to Andy Carroll, who marked his international debut with a goal as England Under-19s crushed Belarus 4-0.


Meanwhile, Ze Maria – the veteran Brazilian linked with Newcastle following his departure from Levante – has arrived at Sheffield United for a week-long trial.


NEWCASTLE midfielder Emre came off the bench to have a hand in two of Turkey’s goals as they beat Hungary 3-0 in a Euro 2008 qualifier last night. Middlesbrough’s Tunçay played the whole game.

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