Newcastle United chief Joe Kinnear is serious about taking Phil Bardsley off Sunderland's hands.

The People says the word from the defender's camp is that the Magpies have made ­"tentative ­inquiries" for Bardsley.

And Kinnear is not put off by the 28-year-old's bad-boy image, after he was pictured lying on a casino floor covered in £50 notes.

But if the Toon's director of football does decide to add Bardsley to the Geordies' ­rather threadbare squad - they are the only Premier League side not to have signed a first- team player in the close season - he will find competition from both Fulham and Blackburn.