Barton start mooted
Speaking about his midfield and team for Saturday, Big Sam was keen to laud the qualities of Scouser Joey Barton ahead of the Majeski shoot out, potentially hinting at the player coming in to replace Emre in the starting line up:
'One of the things about midfield today is the all-round ability to do a bit of everything that is needed to be the complete midfield player. I think that Joey has a little bit of everything in his make-up to be a highly competitive midfield player in hopefully what is going to be a top-class Premier League football club in the future.
His energy levels are fantastic. He achieves a huge amount of output both in and out of possession. He can tackle - although he can be erratic at times - he can head a ball, he can certainly pass the ball, and to boot he also scores goals. I think he's got the lot, and hopefully if he gets the opportunity to put the Newcastle shirt on from the start he keeps it.
In fact I hope soon that every Newcastle player who has the shirt is looking over his shoulder and knowing if they do not perform to their best they will have that shirt taken off them. I have not made my mind up whether Joey Barton will start against Reading or not. In fact I haven't made my mind up on the team yet.'