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Notts County boss Nolan keen to sign Barton after betting ban

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Notts County manager Kevin Nolan is eager to sign former Newcastle team-mate Joey Barton in the summer.

Midfielder Barton, 35, was suspended by the Football Association for breaching betting rules in April 2017 and is currenrtly banned from playing until 1 June.

“Me and Joey are good friends,” Nolan told BBC Radio Nottingham. “He is a top player, a top lad and I really get on well with him. “We will always be in touch so let's see what happens.”

Nolan, who played with Barton for two and a half years at Newcastle from January 2009, expects several clubs to be interested in the former Manchester City, QPR, Marseille, Rangers and Burnley player.

The Magpies are fifth in League Two and on course to make the play-offs, with an outside chance of gaining automatic promotion. They are four points adrift of third-place Wycombe with four games left, but Wanderers have a game in hand.

“Joey is probably going to want to play at a higher level,” Nolan said. “And if that doesn't come to fruition then I am sure there will be a conversation in the summer.

“He describes himself as Joey on the pitch and Joseph off it and I respect both of them very highly.”

It was discovered that Barton had put on a total of 1,260 betting wagers on football matches over a 10 year period. Those actions found himself foul of the FA's rules and a consequence was banned and released from his contract with Premier League club Burnley.

Barton though successfully appealed and the original 18-month suspension was reduced to 13 months.

Meanwhile, County's former Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi says he is considering retiring and will make a decision at the end of the season.

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