Newcastle United have made Gael Bigirimana and Gabriel Obertan available for loan as the big clear-out at St James’ Park begins in earnest.
United want to get Bigirimana first-team action after his return from a long injury and Obertan, who has tumbled down the pecking order, is also available. It is understood that a clutch of Championship clubs including Nottingham Forest have an interest in Obertan, although United have already tried once without success to get Bigirimana a loan move away from St James’ Park, where he
is yet to feature in the
Premier League this season.
The 20-year-old had wanted to break into the first-team picture at St James’ Park, but Alan Pardew is understood to have told him that a move into Football League to get more first-team experience would be preferable. The club had originally wanted to keep him in the top two tiers but after the success enjoyed by James Tavernier and Haris Vuckic at Rotherham, they are prepared to allow him to go into League One to get more of the first-team football that he needs to get his career back on track.
The Journal understands that Coventry City were alerted to his availability earlier in the season and Birmingham City have also been tracking the midfielder, but Newcastle want a significant contribution towards his wages to cover any deal.
As United look to reshuffle their squad over the summer, Alan Pardew is set to learn his fate this week – with a date for the Football Association’s three-man hearing into his improper conduct charge pencilled in for tomorrow.
Pardew has requested a personal hearing despite pleading guilty to the charge, which was levied after his clash with David Meyler in the 4-1 defeat of Hull City a fortnight ago.
He is bidding to mitigate the possibility of a long ban, with FA sources suggesting a stadium ban and a possible ten-match exclusion from the touchline are among the options being considered for punishing the offence.
Pardew hopes to use the four-match ban handed to Mark Yates, then manager of Kidderminster, as a possible precedent but has privately accepted that he faces a long ban.
Newcastle are working on the assumption that John Carver will lead out the team at Fulham on Saturday as the Magpies look to make it three wins on the spin.
As the debate rages on, Steve Bruce praised Meyler yesterday. He said: “It just shows you what football is. Last week, I have to say the way he conducted himself was a model for professional footballers.”