Joey Barton plays 45 minutes of Fleetwood Town friendly

Joey Barton said it was a pleasure to be playing football again after featuring in a friendly for Fleetwood.

The QPR midfielder, who is suspended for the first 12 matches of the season, is training with the Cod Army and played 45 minutes of the 4-0 win against Kilmarnock on Tuesday.

"It was a pleasure to be out there," he said. "I really enjoyed it.

"It will take me a while to get up to speed because I'm three or four weeks behind some of these lads."

I've had eight or nine weeks sitting on a beach with my feet up after the exploits of the Premier League season. It's good to get back

Joey Barton

The one-time England international told the Fleetwood website:  "Getting much-needed match fitness... is the reason behind coming to Fleetwood.

"It was painful because I think it was only my fifth day of pre-season. I've had eight or nine weeks sitting on a beach with my feet up after the exploits of the Premier League season. It's good to get back."

Barton, 29, agreed to join the Football League newcomers for a week during pre-season, but was not expected to play a match.

He was sent off on the final day of last season at Manchester City and was later found guilty of two counts of violent conduct by the Football Association.

QPR fined Barton six weeks' wages and stripped him of the club captaincy, as well as leaving him out of the squad for their pre-season tour of Malaysia.