Barton on the brink
Newcastle look set to head to Scunthorpe in the Carling Cup without Joey Barton after the midfielder underwent a medical at QPR.
Barton travelled to London on Wednesday for talks after the Loftus Road club was given permission to speak to the 28-year-old, still available on a free transfer after falling out with the Newcastle hierarchy earlier this summer.
The midfielder continues to state he wishes to remain at Newcastle, but with only one year left on his contract and no new deal forthcoming, he believes he is being forced out.
"Going for a medical now, still no contract offer from NUFC.......think that just about makes my mind up," Barton wrote on his Twitter account.
"Don't want to leave Newcastle........I've made that clear but my hands are tied."
Barton has played a key role in United's first two games of the season despite effectively being a free agent after being told he could leave the club for nothing following an outburst against their transfer policies on Twitter.
Despite being relegation favourites following their promotion in May, last week's takeover by tycoon Tony Fernandes has given the Hoops a fresh impetus and appeal and Barton could buy into it.
On the field, manager Alan Pardew and his players have enjoyed a fine start to the Barclays Premier League campaign, holding Arsenal to a draw on opening weekend and then leaving the Stadium of Light, the home of arch rivals Sunderland, with a 1-0 victory safely tucked under their belts last Saturday.
However, Ryan Taylor's fine free-kick on Wearside remains their only goal to date, and while they have kept two clean sheets in the process, Pardew is keen to add a greater attacking threat to dogged defence - starting on Thursday.
He said: "We pride ourselves on some of the defensive work we do here. Last year when I was here, we were really tight and I was pleased with that. But of course, it's only a platform to attack and the attacking side of our game needs to improve. We need to threaten the goal more than we have in the last two Premier League games."
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