Joey Barton appeared in court on Tuesday charged with assault. Newcastle United midfielder Barton appeared for a brief hearing at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester to set a trial date where he will face charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Barton, dressed in jeans, trainers and a dark blue shirt, spoke only to confirm his name and enter his not guilty plea. He is accused of attacking then team-mate Ousmane Dabo during a training ground bust-up on May 1 this year while both were playing for Manchester City. Richard Varden, prosecuting, said the earliest date a trial could be held was June 30 next year. He added: 'I realise it seems a long way away although it's a straightforward allegation, there is an additional factor in that the defendant is a Premiership footballer.' Mr Varden said the witnesses in the case would be other footballers. Judge Leslie Hull released Barton on unconditional bail to appear for trial next year. Liverpool-born Barton, 25, who has been capped by England, was suspended by Manchester City after the incident and sold to Newcastle in a £5.8million deal over the summer. Barton has said he 'strenuously denies' the allegation. The maximum sentence for ABH upon conviction is five years imprisonment.
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