Toon boss Pardew admits relief

Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba are expected to be declared fully fit

ahead of Sunday’s game against Tottenham after completing training

on Thursday. Ba had been Pardew’s greatest concern after Senegal

coach Amara Traore raised concerns over the striker’s knee problem,

resulting in the striker’s exclusion from the final African Cup of

Nations qualifier with Mauritius. Meanwhile, Cayabe was substituted

after an hour in France’s 1-1 Euro 2012 qualifier against Bosnia

& Herzegovina, but it was said to be unrelated to the ankle

problem that meant he missed Friday’s win over Albania. The

midfielder is rapidly becoming a permanent fixture in Laurent

Blanc’s team as the 25-year-old claimed his eighth cap for Les

Bleus. An assessment by the club’s medical department confirmed the

pair have shown no lasting symptoms and will continue in their

preparations as the Magpies look to extend their nine-match

unbeaten start to the season at home to Spurs. But Pardew spoke of

the anxiety surrounding any international break, particularly with

those players who have to travel great distances. “As a Premier

League manager I’m always nervous during the international break,”

he told The Northern Echo. “It is not just injuries, you don’t know

how much travelling they’re doing and what training programme they

are on while they’re away either. “Jonas (Gutierrez), for example,

has had two long journeys with Argentina. “You’re not party to any

of it so it is a bit of a nervous time. “But the ones that were due

back have come back and look in good shape. “Demba Ba is back,

Cheick Tiote is back and so is Yohan Cabaye. “Demba is absolutely

fine, there is no injury there and he’s in good form for us at the

moment.” However, Padrew admitted the break did allow some players

to sharpen up their fitness as the Magpies continue their campaign.

“One of the good things about the free weekend is that it has given

us the chance to get the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa up to speed,” he

said. “He is looking sharper in training and there are one or two

others that maybe benefitted too. “It is a chance for Sylvain

Marveaux and Dan Gosling to get that little bit more work under

their belt.”