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Ba talks up Newcastle

Newcastle striker Demba Ba believes his current side have a lot in common with the Hoffenheim team which shook up the Bundesliga in the 2008-09 season.

The German club were newly promoted but led the league at the halfway point of the season before cementing a seventh place finish, which was still beyond their expectations.

Ba’s personal contribution was 14 goals in 35 games and although Newcastle’s precise circumstances are not identical to those of Hoffenheim, he believes that there are a lot of common factors.

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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.

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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.”
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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.

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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.
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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. … Continue readingNEWCASTLE HURTS MARTIN

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.
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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.

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