FLEETWOOD boss Micky Mellon says he can’t wait to work with Joey Barton.
Initially, the QPR midfielder is to train with the club and will take part in next week’s training camp in Scotland
Mellon told The Gazette: “Joey has agreed to come and have a look at things. Everyone knows what has gone on with Joey, but he is a terrific footballer and you can’t turn down the chance of getting a player with that ability to train with you.
“It all came about because Joey has mates at Fleetwood and they talked about it.
“It was then that we contacted QPR about him training with us and they gave permission. You’ll have to ask Joey why he agreed to come, but as far as I am concerned, when there is a chance of someone of that ability training with you, you have to take it.
“I can’t speak for every manager but I am sure a lot would feel the same. At the end of the day, he is a terrific footballer.”
Barton has been banned for 12 matches after being found guilty of two counts of violent conduct at Manchester City on the final day of last season, when he was sent off.
It was the latest in a number of misdemeanours, both on and off the field, by a player who won his one full England cap five years ago, but Mellon says he has no problem with the player’s lengthy ‘crime sheet’ and could not turn down the chance to work with a player of Barton’s calibre.
The manager added: “I have worked with players with so-called reputations in the past and not had any problems. You can never have too many good players and Joey is certainly one of those.”
Mellon would not comment on whether Fleetwood would try to secure Barton on loan, saying: “First and foremost, he is with us for a week.”
Mellon is hoping Barton will play in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Kilmarnock next week, believing that fixture is exempt from his suspension.