There has been a delay in the comeback of Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton.
Joey Barton – back before the end of the month?
Joey was initially supposed to come back last Saturday against Swansea, but he didn’t make it, and is presumably still some weeks away from a return to the side.
Barton’s last game for Newcastle was back on 19th September, when we beat Plymouth Argyle 3-1. Joey’s foot had been huring and soon after he had the thrid operation on a foot since he arrived at Newcastle.
Foot injuries seem to be a more prevalent these days than ever, since the new boots hardly give the feet any protection at all.
But there has been something of a mystery about Joey’s fitness, and today Barton’s agent Willie McKay tried to explain the injury situation to the local Evening Chronicle:
“Joey can’t wait to be involved again.” “He’s had no setback but he has rushed back before for the team and ended up being injured again.”
“There’s no need for him to rush – he said to me he will be back in February at some point and nothing has changed.” “When he does come back it will be like having a new signing for Newcastle.”
“He’s keen to play his part and, with his experience at Premier League level, he can be a real asset to Newcastle in the run-in.”
“Joey loves Newcastle and he is desperate to play a part in taking them back to the top.”
So that says that he will still be back in February, and it’s now over half way through the month – so presumably if Willie’s right then Joey could be back for the last game of February.
That game is at Watford on 27th February – that’s a week on Saturday.
That seems unlikely, and it’s right not to rush Joey back, and Chris Hughton has shown he is very careful about injuries.
Chris, to his credit, has erred on the side of caution this season with injuries, as he did with Argentine winger Gutierrez on Saturday, although Jonas was sorely missed, in what was one of Newcastle’s most insipid displays of the season.
We doubt if Joey can be playing by the end of this month but starting in March Newcastle still have 13 league games left in the season, so hopefully Joey can make a contribution to the side during those vital games.
He certainly owes it to the Tyneside club, who have stood by him through his many altercations, since he was signed from Manchester City in July of 2007 by big Sam Allardyce.
It would be good if Joey can repay some of that before May comes around. It’s got to be a big opportunity for him, and we hope he takes it.