By Will Butcher
Joey Barton has claimed that Newcastle will win the Championship this season – but predicted that it will not be a cakewalk.
Rafael Benitez’s side made a poor start to their campaign last night, when they lost 1-0 at Fulham in a match the manager subsequently termed a ‘wake-up call’ to his team.
Before the match, Rangers midfielder Barton claimed via his personal Twitter account that his former side were his favourites to go up to the Premier League.
Newcastle have been acclaimed by many pundits as favourites for the title after spending almost £50million on new talent this summer, bringing in the likes of Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle and Mohamed Diame.
The former Manchester City knows full-well on how to get promoted from the second tier of English football, after doing so with Burnley last season.
However, the experienced midfielder chose to undertake a new challenge and moved to Scotland with Old Firm side Rangers, rather than try his hand in the Premier League one more time.
Barton, who made his Rangers debut early on Saturday afternoon against Hamilton, is considered as something of a coup for Mark Warburton’s side.
The former Marseille loanee has more than 250 Premier League appearances to his name, for three different sides.
The midfielder, who played for both Everton and Liverpool during his youth career, made just 81 league appearances for the Magpies in five years at St James’ Park.
Injuries, a jail sentence and subsequent suspensions meant his playing time was limited.
In other Newcastle news, this attacking forward revealed he is in talks with the Magpies over a transfer.