Pardew still believes in Ba
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew insists striker Demba Ba will rediscover his touch in front of goal.
Last Updated: 12/04/12 4:19pm
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew insists striker Demba Ba will rediscover his touch in front of goal with five games of the Premier League campaign remaining.
The Senegal international was hailed as the best deal of the season when Pardew landed the player on a free transfer from West Ham in the summer.
However, after bagging an impressive 16 goals for the Magpies by the first week of February, the 26-year-old has now failed to hit the back of the net in his last nine games.
In sharp contrast, Ba's compatriot Papiss Cisse has enjoyed a hot streak since his arrival on Tyneside in January, scoring a remarkable 10 goals in the same number of outings.
But Pardew still believes in Ba and said: "The first goal at West Brom, Demba must have been a centimetre away from scoring, and when Cisse scored the second goal, he was actually fouled as he was going to score and it fell to Cisse, so he has been a little bit unlucky.
"But he is on penalties, he will be in and around the free-kicks and he is working as hard as he has always worked.
"He is in great form, there's no lack of confidence. His goal will come and then this will all be forgotten."
Newcastle take on Stoke City next Saturday with Chelsea's participation in the FA Cup semi-finals meaning the Magpies have no fixture this weekend.
They will head into it on the back of a five-game winning run which has taken them into fifth place in the table and level on points with Tottenham.
Such form has given them a chance of an unlikely bid for UEFA Champions League qualification, and Pardew is delighted that some of his key players are showing good form.
Pardew said: "Our front line is in great form. Even Shola (Ameobi), who isn't getting a start at the moment, every time he comes on, he looks like he should start.
"Shola, Demba, Cisse, (Hatem) Ben Arfa - and you could put (Yohan) Cabaye in that group as well - they are all in really, really good form."