Barton pledges payback
Joey Barton has kept a seriously low profile in amongst the trouble he has caused. With rumours of sackings, pay cuts and protests the midfielder has been the persona non grata of the media and the average UK football supporter.
However the Scouser has promised to make amends, starting with the mackem match this weekend. Having completed nearly 80 minutes for the reserves he might just have played his way into contention. With the same fixture seeing the former Man City man kicking Dickson Etuhu in the spuds is it really the bright time? Barton said:
'Kevin, as everybody knows, put his neck on the line for me. He stuck by me, and I am eternally grateful to him for that. A lot of other people at the club stuck by me too, and they know who they are. Hopefully, I can go on and do a job for this football club. Because of my past misdemeanours, it has been tough for me.
The aim is to turn in performances for the fans. I want to do it for everybody connected with the club; players, fans and staff, everybody I have let down in the past. I want to go on to start paying back my transfer fee, which I don't think I did at any stage last year.
I am ready for the Sunderland game. I know it is a derby and I am aware of how passionate the fans are about local derbies. I am more concerned mainly about getting my body right so I can be part of the squad. It is vitally important for me to play well when I come back into this football club.
We have a good group of lads who are playing well at the minute. I am going to have to be playing really well if I am going to force my way into the team.'