Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear admits he is looking forward to welcoming 26-year-old Joey Barton back into the fold, after the lad has not played for the first team this season, and only yesterday completed a solid 80 minutes for the Reserves against Middlesbrough at Billingham.
Joey Barton – at Billingham last night – got good 80 minutes in
Joe Kinnear talked today about Barton:
“He’s got a big heart and is a good character and on top of that he can play,” “I’ve been pleased with him in training, and with his attitude. He will come into contention, for sure. You want all your best players available when you’re going into tough matches.”
“His fitness level is good and what has happened in the past with the lad is over and done with.” “I am only here to assess his ability as a player and he’s a good player, he really is.”
“I will assess everyone we have available.” “It’s a case of putting the right players in the right positions against the teams we play. I want players to play in a certain style and give everything they have got. He’s a wholehearted player and he’s got a lot of ability.”
“Maybe people think about him completely differently and forget about the ability he has. Joey’s one of the best finishers at the club.”
We think Joey will definitely make the bench for the Sunderland game, and in all likelihood will be introduced at some stage during the game, but we’d be surprised if he starts, given the excellent performances of all the lads on Monday night.
We don’t want to start sounding like a broken record but we really need 3 points from our next games, and draws will not get us out of the relegation zone quickly – and that’s one of the things we need to accomplish under joe.
If we can keep 11 men on the field on Saturday, we have to have a fighting chance at The Stadium Of Light, but we’ll need to be at our very best against a much improved Sunderland side from last season.