Loic Remy and Yohan Cabaye set to start against Aston Villa

Loic Remy will make his first Newcastle United start at Aston Villa today – and Yohan Cabaye is also set to make a return to the team

Loic Remy
Loic Remy

Alan Pardew last night admitted both players had “a good chance” of making his starting XI for this vital Premier League match.

Remy has put in two weeks of hard work at the club’s training ground since coming on as a late substitute against Fulham, impressing team-mates and coaching staff alike.

As has Cabaye after bring dropped by France manager Didier Deschamps – and Pardew believes the midfielder is now in the right frame of mind to get his Newcastle career back on track.

The Newcastle manager said: “There is a good chance Yohan and Remy will start. That’s all I can say.

“I think Remy has got enough in the tank to be considered for a start. Whether he can produce the best performance he could possibly do in that first game, I doubt.

“But at some stage he needs to be pitched in. The one thing I would say is that he’s impressed in training. Not just the manager, but the players and the coaching staff, and his manner around the place.

“He’s been a real gentleman. As far as I am concerned the signs for success are there.

“Since Demba Ba left, we’ve lacked a player that has increased our goal threat. With all due respect to the players that we have, we’ve needed a player that can put the other team on the back foot. I think Remy does that.

“We’ve got Papiss Cisse, Shola Ameobi, Yoan Gouffran to complement that. Hopefully they will all stay fit.

“That is probably the one fault that you would say against us in this window, that one more offensive player would have just protected us a little bit, which unfortunately we didn’t secure.”

Newcastle fans will be intrigued to see how Cabaye reacts if given the chance to shine.

The Frenchman was booed by some, but not all, supporters two weeks ago at St James’ Park.

The fact it was a somewhat muted round of jeering said much for how highly they value the 27-year-old, even if the reaction showed the player they had not been impressed by his refusal to play for the team.

Pardew has little option but to play down Cabaye’s decision not to play for him in the wake of Arsenal’s failed bid for him. The manager can’t afford to ostracise his main midfielder, and instead has tried to make sure the player is ready to play for his team again.

Pardew said: “I haven’t really needed to speak to Yohan, if I’m honest. I can just see how he is by his demeanour and how he’s been, which is spot on.

“I was pleased the French manager didn’t pick him because that’s worked out for him really well. He definitely needed some work.

“To have him, Papiss, Hatem. Remy, Gouff and Marveaux training here has been great for our offensive play, because we needed to do some work on that.

“I did speak to Yohan, of course, but not at great length.

“We had a conversation. I didn’t have to coax him in any manner. I had a little discussion about the window shutting, about his new baby girl and you can just tell that he’s in a place where he has turned a corner.

“Sometimes players don’t do this. I have seen that with guys I played with and also managed. They continue the process of wearing the disappointment – let me put it that way.”

Today’s match at Villa Park will say much about where Newcastle are. There wasn’t much between the two teams last season, with United taking four points.

Pardew believes, contrary to popular belief, that he goes to the Midlands with a stronger squad.

He said: “One thing I learned last season was that we have a team that is very capable of producing what that team who finished fifth did.

“I looked at the bench and last season I felt it was difficult to change the game towards the end because the substitutes didn’t have depth or quality.

The bench against Fulham, and the one that will be at Villa, will really be able to change the game.

“That can sometimes sway a Premier League fixture.”

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