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QPR transfer focus - Barton exit possible after Fleetwood move

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By Jack Higgins

Friday 03 August 2012

Joey Barton has this week played down speculation of his move away from Queens Park Rangers. Former captain Barton is to serve a 12 game ban for his reckless behaviour on the final game of the season against Manchester City, behaviour that could have seen QPR relegated to the Championship.

Throughout the summer Barton has been heavily linked with a move away from Loftus Road, with the majority suggesting he could be loaned out to a Championship side. Blackburn and Sheffield Wednesday were both said to be interested. Because of the vast amount of games in the Championship, with many played every Saturday and Tuesday, it would see Barton’s ban go a lot quicker.

With Barton stripped of the captaincy and left off Rangers’ pre-season tour of Asia it would be difficult to see him in manager Mark Hughes’ plans.

Hughes has brought in midfielders such as Park Ji Sung and Junior Hoillet, moves likely to see Adel Taarabt moved to a more central role, so effectively there is still room for Barton in the QPR midfield. However, it will be a very difficult season for him if he is missing out on the first few training sessions where the manager tries to gel his team together.

Barton clearly thinks a lot of his QPR manager. Speaking on his own website he said: “He’s just a quality football man with loads of confidence in his own ability and he’ll bring success to this football club - I don’t doubt that for one second.

Hughes has kept quiet his opinion on his former captain, but one thing he cannot dismiss is Barton’s ability. Many fans at Barton’s former clubs Newcastle and Man City will agree that despite the red mist and inability to control his actions, Barton was a fantastic player for them.

With Barton being told to train with the youth team and reserves whilst QPR enjoy life in Asia, he has decided to go back to his roots and train with newly promoted League 2 club Fleetwood Town, a move that set tongues wagging again that the midfielder could make a sensational drop of three divisions if he is to be sacked by QPR.

Barton quashed those rumours quickly, stating: “I am training with Fleetwood because I desperately want to fall back in love with the game. I feel that training in the lower leagues will give me a reality check and maybe help me become a better person. A little more humility will serve me well.

This in itself shows Barton necessarily as ego-driven as he may seem - he could be sitting on a beach or strolling with the youth team picking up his massive wage, but instead he is choosing to work hard this summer.

However, the fact that QPR have allowed him to go and train and play in friendlies for another club does not look positive for Barton’s immediate future and he may well see himself serving his 12 match ban elsewhere.

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