sport

Pardew to launch new Magpies

Alan Pardew is hoping to relaunch Newcastle United's season at Aston Villa after admitting the Demba Ba saga had hit them hard.

The Magpies head for Villa Park on Tuesday night sitting just two points clear of the Premier League relegation zone with their hosts one of only four clubs in a worse position.

They will do so, however, having responded to the loss of leading scorer Ba to Chelsea after they activated his infamous 7million release-clause after months of speculation by plunging into the January transfer market with gusto.

The Tynesiders soon signed Frenchmen Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Yoan Gouffran, Massadio Haidara and Moussa Sissoko, the latter four arriving in the space of as many days last week.

That flurry of activity, coupled with playmaker Yohan Cabaye's return from injury and the retention of skipper Fabricio Coloccini despite his original wish to return to Argentina, has significantly lifted spirits on Tyneside and Pardew is hoping to see that channelled into a much-improved performance in the Midlands.

He said: "It's a kind of restart for us because we are so much stronger in terms of depth and quality within the group.

"We have got Yohan coming back, and he's like a new player; Debuchy has come into the building and settled quickly, [Sylvain] Marveaux is playing well, and then the new boys on top of that.

"The loss of Demba, I think, really impacted on us. You only have to look at the goals scored and you would have to say it has.

"We have had to react to that and hopefully, we have reacted in the right way.

"We have had a small squad since I have been here and now for the first time, I think I have the full allocation, and that goes without the injury crisis we have suffered this particular year.

"We are up to full strength really and now it is about making sure we get the victories we need to build on this.

"People keep talking about finishing fifth last year and this and that, but that team, I have never been able to field because of injuries or whatever.

"We now have a strong squad. We will probably have a new look to us and that new look hopefully settles quickly because we have not got a lot of games left.

"It may seem like it, but it won't be in five games' time if we are still in this same position."

The new recruits and the abating injury crisis meant there were a few different names for Pardew's secretary to type out as she compiled the list of players required to travel, and the manager revealed that had brought a smile to her face too.

He said: "My secretary was very, very pleased to type up the list of players who are travelling. She said it was the first time she had not had to put any young reserve players in there, so it cheered her up, if nothing else.

"It is very important because we have had to play good young players before their time and it's been unfair on them too."

Pardew revealed that former Toulouse midfielder Sissoko will make his debut, while Yanga-Mbiwa and Gouffran are likely to be involved in the squad.

However, the presence of captain Coloccini will prove equally welcome for his manager, who played down an open letter from the Argentina international to San Lorenzo in which he apparently expressed regret at not being able to join them this month because of personal problems.

Pardew said: "When you interpret one language from another, while the words can look the same, the interpretation can be slightly different and I think the interpretation of that was slightly lost, if I'm honest.

"It's his hometown club, of course, and he's got friends and family there, and I think he just wanted to say, 'Thanks for your offer of help if I needed it'.

"Unfortunately for them, it hasn't happened. Fortunately for us, he remains our captain and committed to the cause, make no mistake about that."