Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Pardew keeps focus off duo

Joey Barton

Alan Pardew will not allow the ongoing uncertainty over Joey Barton and Jose Enrique to hinder Newcastle's preparations for the new season.

Barton has been told he will not be offered a new deal, while Enrique is in no hurry to reach an agreement despite being presented with a package described by Pardew as "one of the best offers we have ever made a player".

However, with no bid yet on the table for either man, the manager will simply get on with the task of making sure his team is ready for Arsenal's opening day trip to St James' Park. Pardew said: "The situation is simple: if players don't want to commit to contracts or this is not the contract offer that they wish, there's not much you can do about it."

He added: "But we have a good feeling in the dressing room, we are looking forward to the season and I think we have got a decent side this year."

Barton's situation is somewhat different to that of Enrique with the club having withdrawn the offer they tabled in January after the contract went unsigned.

But Pardew remains as relaxed as he can be over a player who has repeatedly vowed to see out his current deal.

The manager said: "We are at a situation where we will play this season as it comes and we will all sit down at the end of the year, and who knows? We might do a deal then.

"You never know in this game. It's a strange business we are in. He's a good player, he's playing well for us and that's all I care about."

Barton, of course, will not travel with the rest of the squad to the United States on Sunday after being refused an entry visa, but Pardew is confident the 28-year-old will make his presence felt with the reserves in Holland before linking up with his senior team-mates once again on their return.

He said: "He's a very important player for us and the example he sets with that group will be first-class. I am looking forward to seeing him when I come back and getting him ingrained in the team."

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