Pardew admits relief
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has expressed his relief after his players returned injury free from international duty.
By Matthew Skinns
Last Updated: 13/10/11 10:38am
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has expressed his relief after his players returned unscathed from international duty despite worrying reports of suspected injuries.
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."