Dyche expands on Barton's return to training
Clarets boss Sean Dyche elaborated on Joey Barton's return to training at the Barnfield Training Centre at this afternoon's pre-match press conference.
After leaving Rangers, followed an ill-fated spell at Ibrox, Dyche left the door open for Barton to work on his fitness at the club he helped win the Championship title with last season.
But he reiterated that there is nothing on the table yet, in terms of a playing contract.
Dyche said: “I actually said last week if he needed us and wanted to come in he'd be more than welcome.
"He is and he's been training with us for a number of days now. Not with the first team, he's doing background fitness work with the sports science team. That's an ongoing thing until things change in the future."
Asked whether there was anything else on the cards, Dyche added: “Not at the moment, he's just enjoying being back in and getting himself fit. He was generally fit of course but he's just topping up. He'd had an indifferent time with being away from the club and different things going on in Scotland...it's about getting him fit and sharp. That's good for him, who knows about us, we'll take that on when I see fit.”
Dyche hasn't had chance for an extended chat with Barton about his future as of yet: "There's been no real depth to my conversations with him, other than very quickly, 'could do with getting some training done, some fitness work'. 'Absolutely, no problem, get yourself in, I'll have a chat with you when I see you'.
"That's it really.
"It's not for me to start reflecting on his time at Rangers, he needed somewhere, he knows what we're about and he'll be looked after, like many other players I've worked with and supported whether they're here or not.
"We care about our players and that doesn't always mean the ones who've done well for us, those who haven't we've still helped.
"You tend to gravitate to where you've just been, myself and my staff get on with him, he lives up here don't forget...I was happy to say 'come in'.
"He's not training with the first team, just getting fit."
He hasn't ruled out, or in, the chance Barton could make a return to claret and blue yet: "We'll have a chat in the future at the moment of truth, but not at the moment. He knows the requirement for himself is important first, anything else is beyond that.
"He knows he's got to get himself right both mentally and physically. Whatever peoples' opinions are of who did what up there, the fact is you clear your mind, get your body right and who knows after that.
"He has to get himself right first."
Does Barton have anything to prove after his move north of the border turned sour?
Dyche joked: "I don't really see why he'd have anything to prove.
"They're questions for him, I can't put words in his mouth, there'd be a lot if I did! It would be a long press conference, you ask him that and we'll all have a kip!"
Dyche did, however, confirm Barton could play in development games to aid his fitness levels.