Suspended QPR midfielder Barton makes Fleetwood Town pre-season appearance

The deposed Rs captain will not play competitively until October and admits that, while he was behind many of the players in terms of fitness, he was happy to be back playing
Joey Barton made a 45-minute cameo in Fleetwood Town's victory over Kilmarnock on Tuesday as the QPR midfielder continues his pre-season preparations away from the Rs' squad.

The 29-year-old has been training with the League Two side in a bid to boost his fitness ahead of a 12-game ban at the start of next term after being sent off against Manchester City on the final day of last season.

After receiving his ban from the Football Association, Barton was fined six weeks wages by the club, stripped of the captaincy and excluded from their pre-season squad to tour Asia.

"It feels painful and I'm a little bit stiff," Barton told the Cod Army's official website. "This was only my fifth day of pre-season after eight or nearly nine weeks sitting with my feet up after the exploits of Premier League season last year.

"It's just good to get going again. The body aches but it's part and parcel of the job. It's part of the game none of us like but it’s a necessary evil to be ready for when the games come at the start.

"I really enjoyed the game. It's nice to play with a team who like to get the ball down and pass.

"There are some really good players at Fleetwood and I really enjoyed it. It will take me while to get up to speed. I think I'm three or four weeks behind some of these lads.

"It was just a pleasure to be out there and get a sweat on. It's a start to that much-needed fitness and that's the whole reason of coming to Fleetwood."