Friday 27 January 2012
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is set for an unexpected bonus with the news that strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse are poised to return to the club ahead of schedule.
The duo have been competing in the Africa Cup of Nations for Senegal, one of the favourites to win the tournament, and could have been away until the middle of February if the team had reached the final.
But Senegal have suffered defeats to both Zambia and co-hosts Equatorial Guinea and are now unable to qualify for the knock-out stages.
"Blackburn on Wednesday? That's probably tight, but we might try to get them back for that"
- Alan Pardew
Sunday's meeting with Libya will be their final match of the competition and there is an outside chance that Ba and Cisse will be available for Wednesday's Barclays Premier League contest against Blackburn.
"We have to understand the federation of Senegal's wishes, and also our own," said Pardew, whose team take on Brighton in the FA Cup on Saturday.
"Lee Charnley, our secretary here, will call them and have a conversation as to when and where we can get them back.
"Blackburn on Wednesday? That's probably tight, but we might try to get them back for that.
"I am guessing they are not too pleased about how it's gone, so that's something we will have to focus on when they return.
"On the other hand, obviously they are coming back early, so that part of it, I am pleased about.
"They are two great players and you want your best players in and around your team."
Newcastle, who play Aston Villa on 5th February, signed 26-year-old Cisse from German Bundesliga side Freiburg just before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Ba, meanwhile, has been in fine form for Newcastle since joining from West Ham last summer - scoring 15 League goals so far this season.