Joey Barton ready to slam dunk Hoops

Preston North End's Paul Gallagher tries to escape the clutches of Clarets midfielder Joey Barton
Preston North End's Paul Gallagher tries to escape the clutches of Clarets midfielder Joey Barton

Midfielder Joey Barton will be looking to get one over on his former employers when the Clarets travel to Loftus Road to tackle QPR tomorrow.

The 33-year-old made just short of 100 appearances over four seasons with the Hoops and captained the club under the stewardship of Neil Warnock and Mark Hughes.

Joey Barton made nearly 100 appearances for QPR

Joey Barton made nearly 100 appearances for QPR

But it wasn’t all plain-sailing for the England cap, who made his solitary international appearance in a 1-0 defeat to Spain at Old Trafford in 2007 when replacing Frank Lampard.

A 12-game ban was the punishment imposed by the FA following the fracas at the Etihad as Barton was given his marching orders on the day that Manchester City sealed the Premier League title in dramatic fashion.

He was consequently loaned out to Ligue 1 side Marseille the following season before returning to experience the highs of promotion to the top flight via the play-offs at Wembley and the eventual heartache of relegation last term alongside the Clarets.

“You always look for your old club’s results,” said Barton, who netted seven times for QPR.

There’s nothing better than going to one of your old stomping grounds and turning them over!

Joey Barton

“We decided to go our separate ways in the summer and I kind of look for their results but it would be great to finish above them.

“When I play QPR I want to beat them, the same way I would do against Newcastle or Man City. I’m a competitive footballer and while I enjoyed the period playing for the football club it’s business as usual when we play them.

“I’m really looking forward to it. There’s nothing better than going to one of your old stomping grounds and turning them over.”

With Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink taking charge of his first game tomorrow after being unveiled as Chris Ramsey’s successor in West London, the former Magpie added: “Time will tell. The fact that we’re above them, I think it’s a bit too early to cast aspersions about what’s going on over at QPR.

“It’s not really my business. I’m a Burnley player and I’m focussed on what we’re doing. We’ll see what happens with QPR.”

Meanwhile Barton is enjoying being able to go under the radar with the Clarets, a luxury he wasn’t bestowed with at QPR.

While the midfielder identifies an internal pressure and expectation, he believes Sean Dyche’s side are being allowed to go about their business away from the spotlight.

“For Burnley I think we live under a different environment,” said Barton, who has made 11 appearances this season since moving to Turf Moor in August.

“We’ve come out of the Premier League, and Burnley of all the sides that came down - and I was at one of them in QPR - I think they’ve managed their expectations when they went up to be able to come down in terms wage, budgets and finance.

“The same probably can’t be said about the other two, they probably need to bounce back and bounce back quick, whereas I think Burnley lived way within their means when they went to the Premier League. The club is in a sound place from a financial stand point.”

Barton, who has lasted the duration for the last four meetings between the two clubs, added: “We’ve got an internal pressure on ourselves of what we expect to get promoted, but I don’t think there’ll be any external pressure.

“It’s very strange because every club I’ve been at you’ve always got lots of column inches and read about them and there’s been an expectation and a pressure.

“Newcastle when I was in the Championship there was huge pressure, QPR we were under pressure because we had a lot of big names in the squad, but we’re kind of going under the radar at Burnley, which I think suits us great.”