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Notts County boss Nolan keen to sign Barton after betting ban

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.

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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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