Newcastle's Barton makes court appearance

Newcastle star Joey Barton appeared in court on Tuesday charged with assault following his alleged attack on former team-mate Ousmane Dabo.

Barton appeared for a brief hearing at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester to set a trial date where he will face charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He is accused of attacking then team-mate Ousmane Dabo during a training ground bust-up on May 1 this year while both were playing for Manchester City.

Richard Varden, prosecuting, said the earliest date a trial could be held was June 30 next year.

He added: "I realise it seems a long way away although it's a straightforward allegation, there is an additional factor in that the defendant is a Premiership footballer."

Mr Varden said the witnesses in the case would be other footballers. Judge Leslie Hull released Barton on unconditional bail to appear for trial next year.

Liverpool-born Barton, 25, who has been capped by England, was suspended by Manchester City after the incident and sold to Newcastle in a £5.8million deal over the summer.

Barton has said he "strenuously denies" the allegation.

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