BRISTOL Rovers manager Joey Barton grinned as he arrived in court to face trial for an alleged assault on fellow football boss Daniel Stendel.

Former England international Barton, 38, is accused of pushing the then Barnsley manager at the South Yorkshire side's Oakwell Stadium, leaving the German coach with a damaged tooth. 

The former Manchester City, Newcastle United and Burnley midfielder was managing Fleetwood Town at the time of the alleged incident in April 2019.

Barton, who played for Newcastle between 2007 and 2011, was charged following an incident in the tunnel after the League One match between Barnsley and Fleetwood, which ended in a 4-2 victory for the home team. 

He has pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. 

If convicted, Barton could face a maximum of five years in prison if his case is sent to the Crown Court.

Police previously confirmed: "On Saturday 13 April 2019, a man was left with facial injuries after an incident in the club tunnel around 5pm, following the conclusion of Barnsley's match against Fleetwood Town."

He was later arrested after Barnsley complained to South Yorkshire Police about the alleged incident.

Barton started his football career with Manchester City in 2002 after going through their youth system and went on to make 150 appearances for the club.

He then moved to Newcastle United in a £5.8million transfer in July 2007 before leaving for Queens Park Rangers in August 2011.

The midfielder was then put on loan to French side Marseille during the 2012-13 season before making his way to Burnley for one season – helping promote them to the Premier League.

In 2017, while playing for Rangers, he was banned from football for 18 months after admitting to a charge from the FA about placing bets on football matches.

The footballer then began his management career with Fleetwood Town in June 2018 and is still the current boss.

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