Alan Pardew warns Joey Barton to keep his cool

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Joey Barton has been warned his temperament will be tested to the full as the Barclays Premier League season draws to a close.

The Newcastle midfielder has shown commendable calm on the pitch, barring an ugly clash with Blackburn's Morten Gamst Pedersen which cost him a three-match ban, in the face of more than a little provocation in recent months.

He found himself in the firing line at Stoke on Saturday, when he had a run-in with Ricardo Fuller, and will line up against Wolves next weekend having been given a stern examination by Karl Henry when the sides met at Molineux in August.

Manager Alan Pardew admits Barton's reputation for combustibility makes him a target, but is confident he can handle the pressure during the remaining eight games of the campaign.

He told the Journal: "If Ricardo Fuller had just run up to me and kicked me, I would have been angry, and Joey was, you saw that in his reaction last weekend.

"I think the referee realised what was going on, he knew what Stoke were trying to do and he handled it very well, as did Joey really.

"There was provocation, but he stayed calm and spoke to the referee. Sometimes he is a target, we have seen that before this season.

"It was crazy at Stoke at times, but Joey knows that they are trying to get him to lose his cool - and he has managed to keep control of his emotions.

"I'm sure other teams will try to do the same sort of thing between now and the end of the season. Joey is one of our key players and they want to stop him, but he knows what they are trying to do."

The Magpies will head into the Wolves game looking for a first league victory in four attempts, a run which has seen them slip to 11th place and just four points clear of the relegation zone.

Next Saturday's game gives them an opportunity to increase that gap with a victory which would compound Wolves' problems, although defeat could plunge them into deep trouble.

Barton, who played at Stoke following his recovery from a thigh injury, will be a key man particularly with Cheick Tiote suspended after collecting his 10th booking of the season at the Britannia Stadium.



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