Anyone who thought the stories about Joey Barton training with Fleetwood Town were just a joke and a wind-up have had the smile wiped from their faces – and our pictures prove it.
Even so, the QPR midfielder’s first session with Fleetwood Town at their Fylde RFC base yesterday raised far more questions than it answered.
The controversial 29-year-old, banned for the first dozen games of next season following his sending off at Manchester City in May, trains with Town again today, will attend this evening’s Highbury friendly against Oldham (but won’t play) and then heads to Scotland with the squad for a training camp on Sunday.
What all Town fans are asking now is what happens beyond next week and whether Barton will, as has been rumoured, join the club on loan. And if anyone at Fleetwood knows the answer, they aren’t saying.
Chairman Andy Pilley referred to an exclusive media agreement covering the Liverpudlian’s spell at the club which forced him to keep his lips sealed.
He told The Gazette: “Until we know what is happening, we can’t say anything except that we are delighted Joey has joined us and it’s a pleasure to have a player of his talent and experience.”
Manager Micky Mellon said: “All I know is that I have a cracking footballer at my club and I’m delighed he is here.
“As far as I know, this agreement has always been for one week and we have to enjoy the influence he has on the group while we can.”
Barton was not made available for interview but he tweeted: “Brilliant training today. Absolutely loved it. Good blow on. Feels great when you get a sweat on.”
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