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Barton reports for pre-season with Newcastle

Controversial midfielder Joey Barton was back at Newcastle this morning for the first time since he was told to stay away from the training ground by Alan Shearer.

The 26-year-old turned up for the first day of pre-season training at the club's Darsley Park headquarters at 9.47am as he and his team-mates began preparations for the new campaign.

Barton was told to stay away after a stand-up row with then boss Shearer in the wake of his sending-off at Liverpool on May 3, an offence which ruled him out of the final three games of the Barclays Premier League season.

His future remains a matter of some speculation with the club certain to move on many of their high earners as they prepare for life in the Coca-Cola Championship.

Press Association Sport understands there could be significant developments on the ownership front in the next few days, and that could pave the way for Shearer - or indeed another manager - to be appointed and to finally start the process of reshaping the squad.

In the meantime, Chris Hughton and the remaining members of the coaching staff will work with the players before heading off for a training camp in Ireland on Sunday.

Goalkeeper Steve Harper was the first senior man to arrive this morning at 9am, closely followed by the likes of Nicky Butt, Alan Smith, Steven Taylor, Danny Guthrie, Kevin Nolan and Jose Enrique.

Striker Obafemi Martins, who has been linked with Stoke and Portsmouth in recent weeks, was a late arrival, although he did eventually turn up to continue his recovery from hernia surgery during the summer.

Five international players - Damien Duff, Sebastien Bassong, Jonas Gutierrez, Geremi and Xisco - have been given extra time because of their exertions with their countries since the end of last season, while Michael Owen, Mark Viduka, Claudio Cacapa, Peter Lovenkrands, David Edgar and Ignacio Gonzalez were all out of contract at midnight last night.