Nolan relishing Barton reunion

Kevin Nolan is looking forward to facing friend and former team-mate Joey Barton.

The West Ham United No4 captained and played alongside the Queens Park Rangers midfielder at Newcastle United between 2009 and 2011, suffering relegation from the Barclays Premier League before romping to the Championship title the following season.

With the pair both being born in Liverpool and adopting a committed, combative approach to their football, the duo became close at St James' Park. Three years on, they are still pals, although that friendship will go out of the window for 90 minutes on Sunday afternoon.

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"I am looking forward to facing a really good friend of mine in Joey Barton," Nolan wrote in his Official Programme column for Sunday's London derby at the Boleyn Ground. "He is a good lad who speaks his mind, which I always find refreshing. He sometimes goes too far, but he's a lovely lad with a big heart and a great family behind him who I know."

Nolan and Barton combined brilliantly in Newcastle's promotion season of 2010/11, scoring 17 goals between them, setting up countless more and never giving their opponents peace - both figuratively and literally!

Despite his sometimes controversial reputation, Nolan praised Barton for the support his fellow Scouser gave him during the pair's time on Tyneside.

Kevin Nolan Joey Barton

Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton at Newcastle United

"I captained Joey at Newcastle and he was very respectful of me and helped me in a lot of ways," Nolan confirmed. "He was a good voice in the dressing room and it was great to play alongside him."

Barton will not be the only familiar face Nolan is likely to come across on Sunday.

Robert Green lined up behind the skipper more than 40 times during the 2011/12 season as the pair combined to help the Hammers win promotion from the Championship.

The England goalkeeper was a constant and composed influence during Nolan's first season in east London, which culminated in a triumphant afternoon at Wembley - Green's final game after six years in Claret and Blue.

After the initial disappointment of relegation in his first season at Loftus Road, Green won promotion for the third time in his career when the Hoops were promoted in May this year. Nolan, for one, is happy to see the 34-year-old back in the Barclays Premier League.

"Greeny is a top man. I got on well with him when he was here and I look forward to catching up with him," wrote Nolan.

"We were gutted to see him leave, but he's back in the Premier League now, where we feel he belongs. It'll be nice to see him and put one past him!"

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