After a week of press stories regarding whether Joey Barton will remain at the Club, Stuart Pearce has again reaffirmed his stance on the whole issue.
Speaking after the pre-season friendly at Rochdale, Pearce said of Barton, a goalscorer in the 3-2 win: “He’s a good player and I don’t think there’s a cloud hanging over him.
“We are hopeful he’ll sign a new contract very shortly and he’ll be at Manchester City for a very long time.”
Asked if the matter has been a distraction to the Manager, he added: “It’s not really been a distraction for me. I think his form suffered a little since January – and he freely admits that – but we hope to get him tied up on a long-term contract.
“We’ve never said any different.”