Newcastle United boss Sam Allardyce has warned Joey Barton he'll face a battle to break into the first team.
The £5.5 million signing is recovering from a metatarsal injury and Allardyce told the Sunday Sun: "Joey Barton is back in training on his own at the moment.
"The specialist has given him the all-clear to start a little bit of running. I would say it is probably between three and four weeks. The extent of the break meant that is wasn't going to be the normal six weeks. It appears to be a little bit longer than that."
On the prospect of Barton facing Manchester City this week, Allardyce added: "I would have hoped not. I'd be hopeful the present form of the players who are fit would mean that he might be fit to be unselected!
"That would be a nice scenario for me . . . to get him back fit again and then to say: 'Sorry Joey, can't put you in because these lads are doing that well. Glad to have you back, but you have to take your chance when it comes around'."