With the African Cup of Nations taking place in January in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, from January 21st through February 12th, Newcastle will be without both Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote for a number of games.
Demba Ba – missing for African Cup of Nations
And Alan Pardew will be checking on how the two lads are doing and hope neither of them gets injured, as we had enough of that when Michael Owen went off to play for England.
But with the squad being so strong these days, there will be no shortage of possible replacements in central midfield and up front, and it will give a good chance to some of the players not starting at Newcastle.
And with both Senegal (Demba Ba) and the Ivory Coast (Tiote) qualifying top of their groups, there is a good chance both countries will do well in the tournament, which means our two lads could be away for a while, and their participation will stretch into February.
Alan Pardew talked today about Demba Ba in particular, and he said it did cross their minds when Newcastle signed him, that he would be unavailable during the African Cup of Nations:
“His absence for the tournament did cross our minds before we decided to sign him and rightly so,”
“Any Premiership side which goes into that period struggling and loses a key player, it is going to hurt.” “Let’s worry about it when we get there. It could be six weeks with the preparation period.”
“We have all that to come. We will have to battle through.” “You worry about your players because it is a really tough competition, really competitive.”
“It is tougher than some of the other international tournaments. All Premier League managers will be keeping their fingers crossed they come back in one piece.”
Newcastle will have a number of choices in midfield with Gosling, Guthrie, Abeid and Vuckic all able to play there, and up front we have Peter Lovenkrands and Shola Ameobi, and a new striker who will likely come in during early January.
That will not help if it’s Modibo Maiga of Sochaux, who plays for Mali who also qualified top of their group, and he will be participating too.
But we have a sneaking suspicion that Newcastle may go after FC Twente’s 21 year-old Dutch International striker Luuk de Jong in January.
What do you think?