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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 08:27 GMT
Barton free to play for Newcastle
Joey Barton
Barton has not played since the draw with Derby on 23 December
Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton is available to play for the club after his bail conditions were changed.

Barton, 25, was charged with assault and affray last month, and ordered by a to live in Hampshire and return by 1930 GMT each day.

He was being flown to training, which he resumed on 15 January, but has now been allowed to move to Newcastle and given a later time to report home.

Boss Kevin Keegan has included him in his squad to face Arsenal on Tuesday.

"Common sense has prevailed and it's a major plus for us," Keegan said. "We are very low with numbers at the minute and I'd have no problems with bringing him on.

"He's worked very hard in training. It's not been a good time for him but we can turn this into a positive."

Barton last played for Newcastle in the home draw against Derby on 23 December and was charged four days later.

I think we will see a new Joey Barton at the end of this

Kevin Keegan

Keegan, who worked with him when the pair were at Manchester City, believes this will be the start of happier times for his player and has backed him to cope with provocation from opposition fans.

"I think we will see a new Joey Barton at the end of this," he added.

"Sometimes people have to go where he has been to realise what they've got and what they might not have.

"I've helped Joey before and told him I would back him 100% the first day I came in.

"He knows the score - he will have to be mentally tough and Joey's football has to do the talking now. He has to win favour back through his footballing performances."

SEE ALSO
Arsenal v Newcastle
28 Jan 08 |  Premier League
Barton in court on assault charge
16 Jan 08 |  Merseyside
Barton back training at Newcastle
15 Jan 08 |  Newcastle United
Lawyers check if Barton can play
04 Jan 08 |  Merseyside
Footballer Barton freed on bail
03 Jan 08 |  England
Newcastle 2-2 Derby
23 Dec 07 |  Premier League


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