DONCASTER Rovers lead a clutch of Championship clubs who are interested in taking Newcastle United youngster Mehdi Abeid on loan.
With the return of Cheick Tioté and Yohan Cabaye to the mix for this weekend’s key clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Abeid has been granted permission to follow in the footsteps of Haris Vuckic and move away from the Magpies to bolster his progress by getting more first-team games under his belt.
United have circulated his name to second and third tier clubs and have received plenty of interest – with struggling Doncaster keen to add the Algeria Under-23 international to their squad.
Leeds United are also understood to be interested, having lost loanee Fabian Delph to a serious injury for the rest of the season.
But Rovers, who have made use of the loan market since the appointment of Dean Saunders last year, appear to be in pole position. They already have a strong French-speaking presence in their dressing room, with ex-Sunderland midfielder El-Hadji Diouf and former Newcastle defender Habib Beye on board.
United’s willingness to loan Abeid is not a sign that his progress has slowed since making his first-team debut back in October.
Indeed, Newcastle have been hugely impressed with the steps he has made since signing in the summer – but now want him to get games under his belt to give him more experience of the rough and tumble of English football.
So far he has made two appearances for United – starting in the League Cup clash with Nottingham Forest and the FA Cup defeat of Blackburn Rovers. The 19-year-old was an impressively mature presence in both games, but the Newcastle chief clearly believes he needs more first-team football under his belt.
United boss Pardew has admitted: “We are trying to get Abeid out. He needs to play regular football for us.”
Newcastle have been savvy users of the loan system in recent seasons, and have been delighted with the progress made by James Tavernier during three spells away from St James’ Park this campaign. Vuckic has also impressed at Cardiff.
They are also looking to loan out Shane Ferguson, although he returned to the first-team fray with an encouraging display in the second half of United’s drubbing at White Hart Lane.
The Tynesiders will be desperate to put that defeat behind them by beating Wolves this weekend, and the return of France schemer Cabaye is a big plus for Pardew.
The midfielder has not played since the FA Cup reverse at Brighton on January 28 and admits he is desperate to return.
“Three matches out was so long for me, and then another week without a fixture as well,” Cabaye told the club’s official website, www.nufc.co.uk
“It was very frustrating how it happened at Brighton, but that is football and I have learned from it.
“But I have worked hard to be ready and fit again. During my time out I have been training with the team as normal but also training on my own at home.
“I wanted to stay as fit as possible so have been running and using the gym at home. If the manager selects me against Wolves, I will be ready.”
Meanwhile, United supporters will face a long trek to Swansea on Good Friday after the latest batch of televised matches was announced. That game will now be played on April 6 with a 4.30pm kick-off, while the visit of Norwich City has been switched to Mothers Day on March 18, with a 4pm start. Sky Sports will show both games live.