Newcastle’s next game of the season sees them go head-to-head with a familiar face as Joey Barton gets set to make his first appearance for QPR. The eccentric midfielder finally departed St James’ Park just days before the transfer window closed to bring to an end another colourful chapter in his career. While he left on good terms with the majority of fans and his fellow players, the same cannot be said for his relationship with the club’s powerbrokers. It was one controversial comment too many that finally brought an end to his Newcastle career.
Newcastle did not appear to miss Barton too much in their previous game with Fulham as a home win saw the side climb to sixth on the league table. Whether they will miss him over the course of the season remains to be seen, even if things are quieter off the field. In an interview with his new club Barton said: “The
New signing Davide Santon could be set for his first Newcastle start following his arrival from Italian giants Inter Milan. The versatile full-back played for the Italy Under-21s in mid-week which provided an opportunity to build up his match fitness. Whether he starts could depend on the availability of Ryan Taylor whose partner is due to give birth in the next few days. Taylor has become something of a cult hero in the past few weeks after scoring from free kicks in two consecutive games. It was the first at the Stadium of Light that was the most important and, at the moment, makes it difficult to leave him out of the first team. If Taylor is available then Danny Simpson may make way at right-back.
QPR have had a mixed start to the new season with two defeats and a win from their opening three games. They have strengthened their squad since then with experienced Premier League players such as Barton, Luke Young and Shaun Wright-Phillips all swelling the ranks. That could make them a different proposition from the team that started the campaign with an embarrassing 4-0 home defeat. Newcastle could add midfielder Danny Guthrie to their squad after he made his return from injury in a reserve match with Sunderland. Guthrie was on target in a 4-3 defeat with Michael Richardson and an unnamed trialist among the goal scorers.
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