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Page last updated at 22:29 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 23:29 UK

Barton could make return in derby

Joey Barton
Barton played for Newcastle's reserves on Tuesday evening

Newcastle's Joey Barton could make his top-flight return following a six-match ban in Saturday's derby against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

The midfielder was banned by the Football Association for assaulting Ousmane Dabo on the training ground.

The 26-year-old played 75 minutes for Newcastle reserves on Tuesday, having made just one Premier League appearance as a substitute this season.

Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear plans to discuss a possible recall with Barton.

"I will have a one-to-one with him - that's if I get a word in with him because he's a typical Scouser, isn't he?" said Kinnear.

He's a whole-hearted player and he's got a lot of ability as well

Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear
"Obviously I have spoken to him about the importance of staying on the pitch for the Sunderland game because he trains as he plays, believe it or not.

"He's got a big heart and is a good character - and on top of that, he can play."

Asked if the intensity of the derby might be an issue for Barton, Kinnear replied: "Well, that is a thought, yeah, that has already gone through my head.

"I am going to sit down with Joey and explain that to him, like you do with all players.

"I want players to play in a certain style and give everything they have got. He's a whole-hearted player and he's got a lot of ability as well.

"Maybe people think about him completely differently and forget about the ability he has got. Joey's one of the best finishers at the club, believe it or not."

Kinnear added: "It's not a case of him badgering me to start him at Sunderland.

"I will assess everyone we have got available and it will be a case of making the right decision, putting the right players in the right positions against the teams that we play against."

Barton came off the bench in what proved to be Kevin Keegan's last game in charge, the 3-0 defeat at Arsenal on 30 August.

In July, he received a four-month suspended prison sentence for the assault on Dabo in May 2007, when the pair were team-mates at Manchester City.

see also
Banned Barton to miss six matches
05 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Barton sidelined until FA hearing
23 Aug 08 |  Newcastle
Barton faces action over assault
15 Aug 08 |  England
Barton admits to violent conduct
13 Aug 08 |  Newcastle
FA charges Barton over Dabo clash
31 Jul 08 |  Newcastle
Magpies to discuss Barton future
01 Jul 08 |  Newcastle
Barton is sentenced for assault
01 Jul 08 |  England
Keegan will support Barton - Lee
21 May 08 |  Newcastle
Barton admits team-mate assault
30 Jun 08 |  England

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