Friday, December 23, 2011

Pardew wants ACON stars to stick around

Alan Pardew hopes Newcastle can hold on to their African Cup of Nations players for just a little bit longer.

Several Premier League stars will be heading off to Africa for the competition which takes place between January 21st and February 12th, but the Magpies look particularly vulnerable as they are set to lose key players Demba Ba and Chieck Tiote.

Ba has bagged 13 goals in just 16 Premier League games, while Tiote is a vital figure in the centre of the park for the side, controlling the side’s play and breaking up opposition attacks. Those looking at the best African Cup of Nations odds should bear this in mind.

Their respective nations are entitled to ask the players to join up with the squad two weeks before the competition gets underway, but Pardew is hoping he will be able to reach an agreement which will see them staying at Newcastle until January 15th.

Pardew said: "The scheduling isn't great for us. But we knew about it before the start of the season so we aren't going to moan about it. It was there and is something that has been on our mind.

"I still think our squad is big enough to cope."

However, with Newcastle now winless in six Premier League games after a 3-2 defeat to West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night it seems likely fans will demand reinforcements before long.

Pardew himself has admitted that the squad is not big enough to maintain a European push, but with their leading goalscorer heading off for almost a month things may be about to get even tough.

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