Joey Barton is raring to go, and may even be included in the Newcastle squad for the game at Bristol City on Saturday, and Joey will be hoping he can get at least a seat on the bench.
Joey Barton – raring to go
But Newcastle manager Chris Hughton remains cool on bringing him back anytime soon, as Chris told the Evening Chronicle today:
“I think he will play soon, but Joey’s only had 75 minutes of a reserve game.” “We have a lot of competition for places at the moment.”
There’s a lot of competition for places to be sure, but when a £5.8M player on £ 3M/year wages, who has been out over four months, is available and seemingly playing well – he needs to be put into the squad.
Joey is after all, only trying to earn this wages after he’s been out for so long vital season for the Newcastle club.
It may also be of course, that Chris wants to give Joey the extended break he may need, so that his foot really heals properly.
Joey, by his own admission, has often come back too early from his injuries, simply because of his natural enthusiasm to play football, and maybe, just maybe, that’s why he’s had three foot operations since he’s been on Tyneside.
So if that is what’s at the back of Chris mind – that’s fine too.
And maybe it’s because Joey’s not fully match fit yet, but then Chris should ensure Joey gets some games, either behind closed doors or in the Reserve side, like last Tuesday night at Hartlepool.
But if it means Joey is really ready, then play him, and if that means a player like Nicky Butt doesn’t make the squad, then so be it.
That’s what strong squads are for, and there are only 18 players who can make the squad for any one game, but don’t delay a good player’s comeback simply because of competition for places.
Surely Joey is good enough to get back into the side once he’s fully fit.