Date: 5th October 2007 at 11:25am
Written by:

Despite a return against his former club`s reserve side in midweek, Big Sam has totally ruled out Joey Barton making a return against boyhood heroes Everton this weekend, instead calling on the player to rein it in.

“There is no chance, absolutely no chance that Joey will be involved against Everton. I know he wants to play, but he is a footballer, not a medical expert. We will make the decision when he plays, not him. That decision will be taken by medical experts in consultation with myself and the coaching staff.

Joey is very enthusiastic about playing football and it was that sort of character which was one of the reasons we signed him. It has been very frustrating for him to have been unable to play when he has only just joined a new club, but we will not rush him back.

The injury has taken a little longer than we thought to heal and, having waited patiently for so long, we’d be stupid to rush him back now just because he wants to play as quickly as possible. There is a big difference between being fit enough to train and fit enough to play in the Premier League.

We’re having to hold him back a little because he wants to get back into it, but it’s for his own good. We are looking after his long-term interests. When you have been out for a long time and come back you are at a greater risk of picking up another injury elsewhere because the body isn’t strong enough to cope. He is coming back slowly and he won’t be involved with the first team until after the international break.’