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Joey champing at the bit for United return


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JOEY BARTON won’t play against his old club Manchester City at the weekend, but insists he has no problem being a fully- fledged member of the Toon Army.

 

Barton was at the Emirates Stadium last night and pleaded to be part of the squad, even if it was just to warm up with the United men who did play at Arsenal.

 

And even though Newcastle could have done with him on the field for the rest of the night, his appearance was not a one-off.

 

Barton did the same at Derby County on Monday and was even at the reserves’ 2-0 defeat against Middlesbrough 24 hours later.

 

Barton told me: “The lads are giving me a bit of stick for it, but I just love football.

 

“I love watching the lads and being part of it, even though at the minute you feel a bit removed from it because you’re not joining in training.

 

“You’re on your own doing work in the gym, but travelling to away games makes me feel a part of it.

 

“I can give the lads a bit of positive talk, and hopefully get a feel for it and what happens on a matchday.

 

“I’m nearing the end of a significant injury, which has been frustrating. I can see light at the end of the tunnel now, and I am champing at the bit.

 

“Being around the players and in the dressing room, you feel more a part of it than you would normally do stuck in the gym somewhere."

 

Barton has been missing since the game at Carlisle in July when he broke his foot, but has even been back to Brunton Park to join Lee Clark for a scouting mission as the Toon coach took his place in the stands last Saturday.

 

He added: "I’ll be there at the City of Manchester Stadium on Saturday too, without a shadow of a doubt. It’s just disappointing I won’t be playing.

 

"I’ve still got a little way to go in terms of match fitness, and hopefully I’ll get there sooner rather than later and I’ll get back to what I do best, which is playing football.

 

"I’ve been very fortunate to have a good medical team around me – the doctor and physios have been first class in getting me to where I am.

 

"But I’m only young, and I’ll get a lot chances to play at Manchester City in the future.

 

"I still keep in contact with the lads there – I’ve got a lot of friends there and they’ve had a great start to the season and it should be a good game.

 

"You always want to play against your old club, but at the same time this is just another Premier League game for me.

 

"I think I’ve proved what I can do to the fans there – I’ve got nothing to prove to them.

 

"Now it’s a case of pulling on a Newcastle United shirt and enjoying a new chapter in my career.

 

"Hopefully this is the start of an exciting time for Newcastle United, and for me personally."

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