Gray feels Barton's experience will be vital for Clarets

Andre Gray and Joey Barton celebrate Andre's goal against Blackburn Rovers last season

Andre Gray and Joey Barton celebrate Andre's goal against Blackburn Rovers last season

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Striker Andre Gray feels Joey Barton’s experience will be invaluable as the Clarets look to retain their Premier League status.

The club announced Barton had rejoined on a deal until the end of the season in the aftermath of the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on Monday.

And, having served his one-match SFA suspension, he is available and in line to make his debut tomorrow at Sunderland in the FA Cup third round.

Barton may yet have to serve a further FA miscondict charge relating to betting offences, for which he had until yesterday to reply.

But Gray, who forged a close relationship with Barton as they helped Burnley win the Championship title last season, is delighted to see the 34-year-old back at Turf Moor, with the Clarets nicely positioned as they attempt to stave off the drop.

Gray, asked what Barton will bring, said: “Experience.When games get sticky he can be that rock for us like he was last season.

“He’s a massive addition for us, even in the changing room, just being that speaker on the pitch.

“He was massive for us last year and he will be this season.

“He knows the league and even if it’s not on the pitch, it’s off the pitch where he can gives us that bit of knowledge that some of the boys don’t have as much.”

The club put out a statement on Monday to announce the signing: “Burnley Football Club can confirm that, following detailed discussions regarding the recent FA charge brought against Joey Barton, the club have now reached an agreement with the player and his representatives over a contract with the club until the end of the season.

“Barton becomes available for selection from January 3rd after completing his registration in time to serve a one match suspension against Manchester City, as a result of a carry-over suspension passed down from the Scottish FA relating to a previous offence.”