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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 22, 2006

Barton has 'no intention to leave' Man City

Joey Barton insists he has no intention of leaving Manchester City next month.

The 24-year-old midfielder is expected to be coveted - along with team-mates Micah Richards and Sylvain Distin - when the transfer window opens in 10 days.

Barton, who signed a four-year contract five months ago, intends to push the club up the table.

'I am very happy here and have absolutely no desire or intention to leave,' he told the club's website.

'I want to concentrate on playing for this club and am very positive about the future.

'I trust this is the end of the matter and we can get on with preparing for the Christmas period of games.'

Manager Stuart Pearce is determined to hold on to his key players and praised Barton for his performances this campaign.

The City boss said: 'Joey is playing well and scoring goals.

'This time last year he was distracted. It didn't help him or this club.

'I think he has learned by it. He is more settled and enjoying his football.

'I have no plans to sell anybody. I do not think we have enough players in the squad to water it down.'

Pearce intends to strengthen his squad but remains unsure of his budget due to the possibility of a takeover at the club.

He said: 'I get to see a lot of matches as I have to be prepared for every eventuality.

'We are aware we are not scoring as many goals as we would like. We are busy looking everywhere.

'Sometimes you get better value for money abroad.

'I might have to juggle the pack a little bit depending on any news of a takeover.

'I am sure the chairman (John Wardle) will find some money from somewhere.'

City are only three points clear of the relegation zone, going into the home match against Bolton.

Pearce believes as many as 12 teams, including his side, could get sucked into the struggle for safety.

He said: 'You can go up as high as Aston Villa and Everton and on the back of a couple of bad results they could be looking over their shoulder.

'That is going to be the nature of the league. It is so condensed.

'With so much at stake for any side to go outside the Premier League, sometimes it is more exciting down the bottom than the top.

'There could be a lot of sides in the mix for a scrap at the end of the season and of course we do not want to be in there.

'People are already talking about relegation battles. Normally that kind of thing is not normally discussed until March or April.

'It just shows the pressure clubs are under to stay in the top flight.'

City are looking to bounce back after suffering their first home league defeat of the season last weekend against Tottenham.

Pearce added: 'There are a lot of points up for grabs in a short space of time and things can change very quickly.

'But we certainly need to do better in the second half of the season.'

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