BA SAYS HE CAN GET BETTER

Newcastle United striker scored a hatrick against Stoke City, but believes that there is much more to come from him.

A penalty in the 81st minute completed Demba’s hatrick, and won all three points for the Magpies, which helped them up to 3rd in the Premier League table. After 10 matches they are one of just two unbeaten teams in the league, and are on course to win a place in Europe next season.

Newcasle United fans are falling over themselves to meet Ba, who has only been at the club for a matter of months but has slotted in effortlessly. He believes that when he has fully settled, he will be able to score even more goals.

“I am playing at a good level but I can still get better, that is for sure. I am going to just continue working hard.”

“It’s going to be very tough to stay up where we are in the league, but at the moment we’re really enjoying it. I’m happy for the fans and for the club.”

NEWCASTLE SIGN MIDFIELDER

Newcastle have signed midfielder Sylvain Marveaux from French club Rennes in a major coup for the north-east club. The 25-year-old left-sided player had also been linked with Liverpool but will complete a move to St James’ Park for an undisclosed fee on 1 July.

Magpies manager Alan Pardew said: “It’s a coup to have signed Sylvain, who has had interest from a number of clubs.

“He may not be well known to many of our fans, but he is a player we have been keeping an eye on for some time.”

BARTON COULD DEPART NEWCASTLE

Joey Barton looks set to depart the Magpies at the end of the season, according to the Free Bets website. The 28-year-old, who has a year to run on his present contract, was unable to agree terms on a new deal.

Magpies boss Alan Pardew has been quoted as wanting to retain Barton, who joined Newcastle from Manchester City in July 2007 for £5.8m.

Huyton-born Barton has scored eight goals in 82 appearances at Newcastle.

Barton has previously stated his happiness at Newcastle, and was even quoted as wanting to extend the contract in February of this year.

BEN ARFA RULED OUT

Hatem Ben Arfa’s return from injury will be delayed after a new set-back according to Newcastle manager Alan Pardew.

The 23-year-old had hoped to make his comeback from a double leg-break against Wolves next month.

But Pardew admits the forward, who sustained the injury against Manchester City following a horror tackle from midfielder Nigel De Jong, will not be rushed back too soon and may miss out the rest of the campaign.
‘I am going to protect him. I can’t just throw him in,’ said Pardew, confirming that the player’s rehabilitaion – most of which has been spent in Paris – will continue over the forthcoming weeks.

‘The Wolves game sound optimistic, even though I’m sure, in his own mind, he has set that as his target.

NEWCASTLE HURTS MARTIN

Former Newcastle star Obafemi Martins has said that the exit from Newcastle is hurting him till now. Birmingham signed Martins, 26, on a six-month loan from Rubin Kazan and the striker made his Blues debut during the 1-0 win against Stoke on Saturday. The Nigerian forward is likely to feature in Tuesday’s Premier League clash against his former club Newcastle, and the player, who left the Magpies for German club Wolfsburg in a £9 million deal in 2009, has confessed he is still coming to terms with his St James’ Park departure. “The only bad memory we had was when we got relegated,” he said in the Daily Telegraph. “It was normal when I left because they couldn’t afford the money, that’s why they asked me to go. I have good memories of there with the fans and the players.

BORO INTERESTED IN XISCO

Middlesbrough are interested in signing Newcastle United striker Xisco in this transfer window. The 24-year-old, who cost £5.7m from Deportivo La Coruna when he signed in August 2008, has made just 11 appearances for United, scoring once.

He spent much of last season on loan at La Liga side Racing Santander, scoring three goals in 23 games.

Boro are also believed to be keen on Hibernian winger Merouane Zemmama.

NEWCASTLE HOLD CARROLL HOPE

Newcastle United are hoping that Andy Carroll will be fit for the club’s next match on Sunday. Carroll has missed the last three games with a thigh injury but could make his return at the Stadium of Light.

“If we put him in, and he breaks down again, we could lose him for four or five weeks,” Newcastle skipper Nolan told BBC Look North.

“But we want our best players available because, if we do, we feel we can take on any team in the Premier League.”

The Liverpool-born midfielder was a hat-trick hero in the last derby game, the 5-1 win at St James’ Park in October.

Newcastle have meanwhile bee linked to new players in the January transfer window, including William Gallas and Nicklas Bendtner.

PARDEW CRITICISES DISPLAY

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has criticised the team’s performance against Tottenham. Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was left to rue his side’s lacklustre attacking display at White Hart Lane.

“I thought a lot of things we did today were very good, we nullified Spurs to a certain degree,” Pardew reflected. “We had opportunities to hurt Spurs, but we were poor and not at our best.

“Their first goal had an element of fortune because our keeper Tim Krul could have saved the shot if it hadn’t taken a deflection.”

Newcastle have been linked with bids for James Collins and David Bentley in the January transfer window.

PARDEW DENIES RUMOURS

Alan Pardew has denied rumours that agreed to take over the Newcastle United manager’s job before Chris Hughton has sacked. Hughton was given the boot by the Magpies on Monday and was replaced at St James’ Park by Pardew three days later.

However, there have been rumours that Pardew’s appointment as Newcastle boss had been lined up several weeks ago.

Speaking after a 3-1 home win over Liverpool in his first game in charge, Pardew stressed there was no previous agreement to take over on Tyneside.

Diego Cavalieri and Paulo Ferreira have been linked to Newcatle in the January transfer window.

TAYLOR SET TO RETURN

Steven Taylor is set to return for Newcastle United in the crunch match against Chelsea. A series of injuries allied to the centre-half’s refusal to sign a new contract at Newcastle have conspired to sideline him but, with Chris Hughton’s first-choice pairing of Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson both suspended, Taylor will start alongside the similarly ring-rusty Sol Campbell.

“Steven Taylor has been fit for a good while now but he’s missed a lot of games,” said the Newcastle manager. “What you have with Steven, though, is a very good player.”

Moreover, Hughton is hoping to broker a compromise over Newcastle’s contract offer. “We certainly want to keep him here,” he said. “He’s the right profile, the right age and the right quality for the type of player we want here at Newcastle. We want Steven and we’ll endeavour to keep him.”