Joey Barton’s is chomping at the bit to come back into Newcastle’s team, and he had a 45 minute outing last Monday night in a friendly arranged with the Edinburgh club Hibernian, which Newcastle won 4-1.
Joey Barton – chomping at the bit right now to return to fold
But it looks like Hughton is in no hurry to rush Barton back, and is erring on the side of caution with Nolan, Guthrie and Smith playing so well in central midfield right now.
We would expect Barton to be playing before the end of the season, and we also expect Steven Taylor to be doing the same thing, as he recovers from his knee ligament damage.
But it could be that Newcastle are more interested in having these two players fully fit for next season’s Premier league season (hopefully).
Manager Chris Hughton talked about Joey this morning:
“It is not a case of waiting till August,”
“I am quite sure that when he is fit and when he feels he is match-fit he will certainly be making himself available.”
“We have another reserve game next week (at Hartlepool United) and we will make a decision whether to play him in that game.”
“A fit Joey Barton is a very good player and there is no doubt he will be champing at the bit – anyone who has been out for four months would find it a very frustrating period.”
“But would he be playing if he was fit? That would be gauged week to week. First and foremost what he has to do is reach a level of fitness.”
“He has only played 45 minutes for the reserves and he needs to get more games under his belt.”
Barton has said he loves living in the Newcastle City area, and seems settled on Tyneside, and that’s good or bad news depending on what you think of Barton.
Hughton says that Joey knows himself that he needs more games under his belt before he is fully ready to return to the Newcastle first team.
But you can hardly blame the lad for wanting to come back as soon as possible and assist in Newcastle’s promotion drive.
“We don’t really have to rein him in,” “He is clever enough to know what the situation is and how well the players have been playing.”
Once Steven Taylor and Joey Barton are ready to play again, Chris will have some significant selection problems with the starting eleven.
But it also shows our current squad is solid, and a good foundation to build on in the summer, when we expect at least four additional top players to be drafted in.