Shearer aims to draw line on Barton

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Newcastle boss Alan Shearer attempted to draw a line under the latest chapter in the Joey Barton saga ahead of Monday night's relegation showdown with Middlesbrough.

The 26-year-old midfielder was suspended by the Magpies until further notice earlier this week in the aftermath of his sending off at Liverpool on Sunday and the feeling on Tyneside is that he is unlikely to play for the club again, and certainly that will be the case as long as Shearer is in charge.

Shearer said: "Joey has been suspended until further notice. The club wants to look at a few things and they will make another statement or comment when the time is right. But other than that, there are far more important things to talk about than what has gone on this week."

Those more important things are Monday night's derby clash with Boro at St James' Park and the fight against relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

Both Newcastle and their Teesside rivals are currently three points adrift of safety, and Shearer is refusing to allow Barton or anything else to deflect attention away from the task at hand.

Asked if preparations have been affected by the week's events, he said: "No, they haven't at all to be honest. The mood around the place has been good, and despite the result on Sunday, training has been fine and I have been encouraged."

Injuries continue to disrupt Shearer's plans with Spanish full back Jose Enrique very doubtful with the knee problem which has sidelined him for several weeks, while midfielder Alan Smith is struggling to shake off a blow to the thigh.

However, central defender Steven Taylor returned to training after an ankle injury on Wednesday and is expected to train again on Thursday, and that would give him a chance of being involved on Monday.

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Joey Barton
Steven Taylor
Alan Smith
Premier League
Newcastle United
Alan Shearer
Jose Enrique

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