JOEY Barton says Newcastle United's fans can be a major weapon in the battle against Arsenal tonight.

The midfielder is still amazed at the backing the travelling Toon fans gave the team at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, when around 6,000 Geordies travelled to Ewood Park.

And he knows the players will again be giving their all to enjoy that kind of backing again tonight.

He told nufc.co.uk: "The support we had at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday was just phenomenal - how many other clubs would take 6,000 fans to Ewood Park at a time when things haven't been going great on the pitch?

"They were right behind us from the first whistle to the last and I was choked that we couldn't give them a better result to take home.

"I woke on the morning of the game to see that comments I had made earlier in the week had been presented in some quarters in a way they were never meant to be.

"When I spoke about the atmosphere at our last home game against Liverpool the point I was making was that, through results good or bad, we all need to stick together on and off the pitch.

"There are a lot of new players at the club still finding their feet and there was a big summer of change at the club with a new manager and owners coming in.

"So it's clear everyone needs time to come together and move the club on. And that will happen much, much quicker if everyone is pulling together.

"Of course I never questioned any fans' loyalty - who could question the loyalty of any Newcastle United fan? - or their right to be unhappy if performances aren't going well.

"In fact, I actually made the point that it's up to the players to lift the fans when results aren't going our way.

"What I said was intended to be a rallying call after a defeat. It wasn't a blast or an attack, but sadly a lot of what I said was conveniently ignored by those who always look for the sensational aspect and who weren't even present.

"Arsenal are going great at the top of the table right now and nobody's beaten them in the Premier League yet this season, but with the fans behind us like they were at Blackburn we can use St. James' Park to our advantage."

After heavy defeats to Liverpool and Portsmouth it's time to rebuild Fortress St. James' - starting tonight! Can you help?

Tickets are still on sale from the NUFC Box Office and official Club stores - and via online sales by clicking on the link below ...

Online Ticket Sales