Marseille hopeful over Barton

  • Last Updated: September 7 2012, 18:13 BST

Marseille are hoping to have Joey Barton fit in time to make his debut in September 20's Europa League clash with Fenerbahce.

Joey Barton: Eyeing Europa League return

The French Football League confirmed on Thursday night that the on-loan QPR's midfielder's 12-match suspension, imposed following his sending-off and subsequent misdemeanours on the final day of last season against Manchester City, will still apply after his move to France.

He served three of those games with Rangers prior to his move, leaving him with nine still to sit out in domestic competition and ruling him out until November 11's trip to Bordeaux.

But he is available for the four European matches in the meantime, with OM taking on the Turkish side as well as Cypriots AEL and then Germans Borussia Monchengladbach home and away in Group C.

With less than two weeks to the first of those games in Istanbul, Barton faces a race against time to regain full fitness after his enforced lay-off.

Fitness coach Christophe Manouvrier told L'Equipe: "Because of everything he has had a 10-week holiday, so we have prepared a specific programme for him.

"But he is a hard worker, there is no need to push him.

"He could not play 90 minutes but the end of a match, yes. If the coach needs him against Fener, we will make sure he is ready."

Coach Elie Baup is leaving Barton's recuperation in the hands of Manouvrier and his staff and is keeping his personal focus on how best to eventually use Barton, with the Liverpudlian likely to partner Benoit Cheyrou in a deep-lying central midfield pair.

Baup said: "I am only concerned with his playing time, how he sees the game and in what position he will be most useful.

"I think he will be have most to offer in a role like Cheyrou in the right-sided central position."