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Newcastle United's physios have pencilled in a mid-April return to action for Joey Barton.

Chris Hughton reckons that Newcastle will be able to count on the services of Joey Barton again for the final five to six weeks of the season.

As controversial a figure as Barton is as a personality, he is undoubtedly a very useful player who the Geordies have been missing very much in a season in which they are still fighting for their very existences.

The 26-year-old has not featured since damaging his metatarsal in January, but slowly but surely he looks to be on the mend just in time for when the club's survival could really be on the line.

"It's very much the case that we are looking at having Joey back for the last four or five matches," Hughton told nufcTV.

"It's been very frustrating for him and for us as well because he's a quality player.

"We have to cope with that, but when we get him back that will be a big bonus for us."

Newcastle, who are currently only above the relegation zone by virtue of goal difference, take on Tottenham, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Fulham and Aston Villa in their final five fixtures of the 2008/09 season.

Derek Wanner, Goal.com

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