Newcastle boss Allardyce excited by fit-again Barton

Newcastle United boss Sam Allardyce hopes to include Joey Barton in his squad for tomorrow's clash with Tottenham.

Barton said: "It has been a case of being a little bit careful to make sure I am back in contention for Tottenham.

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"The foot feels fine and I am itching to get back in contention."

Allardyce has resisted the temptation to throw one of his big-money acquisitions straight back in, but knows exactly what he has been missing.

He said: "He was one of my first major signings and the talent of the player would help this side immensely.

"Joey has tremendous Premier League experience and he has got all the criteria a central midfield player needs for the Premier League today.

"He is box-to-box, he has got great energy levels, he is a good passer, he tackles, he is tenacious and he scores goals - that is something we want to see him producing for Newcastle.

"When he gets fit, people who are already playing now will hopefully be looking over their shoulders and saying he is a challenge they are going to have to meet."

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