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Marseille hopes Barton is fit for Europa Lge debut

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MARSEILLE, France (AP) -Marseille's fitness coach is hopeful that midfielder Joey Barton can make his debut in the Europa League in two weeks' time, even though he is lacking in match fitness.

Barton only started full training on Thursday, and has not played since being sent off on the last day of last season playing for club Queens Park Rangers against Manchester City.

Fitness coach Christophe Manouvrier says Barton "has been on holiday for 10 weeks" but with intensive training "he could play a bit of the match" against Turkish club Fenerbahce on Sept. 20.

The French Football League has upheld Barton's ban of 12 matches by the English Football Association for his violent behavior toward three City players.

Barton must sit out a further nine league and League Cup games with Marseille.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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