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Newcastle's Keegan ready to make Barton gamble for Arsenal clash

Newcastle United boss Kevin Keegan is ready to hand Joey Barton a first team chance against Arsenal this weekend.

The Mirror says Keegan is ready to name the troubled Toon star in his squad for the FA Cup clash with the Gunners - and then helicopter him back to Hampshire in time to beat his 7pm curfew.

Keegan said: "We've got lads to come back for Arsenal, and I'm looking forward to Joey Barton getting back as well."

Barton has not played since before Christmas and appears in court in March on an assault charge. He has been training with his team-mates, however, using a chopper to fly to and from Tyneside. Scouser Barton spent a week in jail on remand over New Year following an incident in Liverpool, and bail conditions mean the 25-year-old is unable to play at St James' Park and make it back in time for his early evening deadline.

But the former Manchester City star, who has kept up a strict fitness regime in addition to regular training stints with the squad, is set to figure in the fourth round tie, which kicks off at 3pm.

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