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Thursday, September 6, 2012
Barton debut delayed

Fabien Perrin, France correspondent

Joey Barton is currently in limbo, as the French Football Federation looks set to uphold the midfielder's 12-game ban, delaying his Marseille debut.

Barton, 30, arrived at the Stade Velodrome last week, but could be made to wait until mid-November to make his first Ligue 1 appearance, as he has another eight games left on his domestic suspension after getting sent off for his previous club, Queens Park Rangers, on the final day of last season.

Despite his inability to play domestically for a further two months, Barton is available for selection in European competition, which would allow him to appear for Marseille in their Europa League opener against Fenerbahce on September 20.

After much discussion, Barton will be wearing the No. 6 shirt for Marseille, as he looks to make a mark on the other side of The Channel.

"At first, I was offered the number 17, but it would make too many comparisons with Stephane Mbia, so I refused. I asked for 16, but was told that it was in principle reserved for goalkeepers. I told myself that I would take the number six, but it was Alexander Ndoumbou's," the Englishman explained.

"I went to see him to ask, and told I could have it. Otherwise, I would have taken the No. 29 without any problems."

Barton's arrival has caused much excitement among his team-mates, who cannot wait to play alongside the controversial midfielder.

"Everyone is waiting to see him play. We know his qualities, his aggressiveness, his ability to get the ball into feet. He is still a good player. I think he can bring us a lot," Marseille winger Andre Ayew said.

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