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Pardew denies Barton refused to play against Bolton over contract impasse

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is denying reports Joey Barton refused to play against Bolton because of stalled contract talks. Barton was a late withdrawal last Saturday and his absence from the side led to rumours that the former Manchester City player had walked out after contract talks broke down.

"I saw a couple of whispers last week - not in the national media - that he didn't want to play," said Pardew. "It's absolutely not true. He's desperate to play tomorrow [against Everton].

"Joey's commitment to play for us. Don't doubt that. He's going to come in early and try and play through that injury."

Barton has just over a year to run on his current contract and he was the subject of interest from Aston Villa and West Ham during the January transfer window.

Pardew does admit they are back to square one with regards to contract negotiations.

"I don't think the situation has changed in the last week," added Pardew.

"We'll have to sit down with Joey and start again because we thought we were there but it hasn't quite materialised. I'm not going to go into detail."

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Dave Williams

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