Ba is back in Pardew's good books


The Newcastle manager, Alan Pardew, has attempted to draw a line under his problem with Demba Ba by revealing there has been an apology by the player for the outburst that followed his decision to drop the forward for Newcastle's game at Everton on Monday.

Ba's brother, Hamady, branded the decision "crazy" on Twitter and the player's agent, Alex Gontran, claimed he "did not understand the management" and that he would "look at other solutions" if Ba continued to be a substitute.

The Senegal international forward came off the bench at Everton to score twice, and Pardew has said he will start today when Newcastle face Norwich at St James' Park, and that he would now like the issue to be buried.

"Demba hasn't been playing well, he came on [at Everton] and proved what a great player he is, and he is a great player, but we all need to focus our minds on the job in hand," he said. "He's an intelligent boy. Things have been said from within his camp which I think have been unfortunate. We've had somewhat of an apology for that as well.

"Make no mistake, he'll start [against Norwich]. Him and [Papiss] Cissé will start. We need them back to their best because they haven't been at their best until that second half at Everton when I thought, suddenly, 'here we go'."

Newcastle, Pardew admits, have not found the form that earned a fifth-place finish last season. "All teams go through periods when you're not performing at your very best," he added. "We're kind of in that zone but picking up points."

Pardew will today complete his two-game touchline suspension for pushing referee's assistant Peter Kirkup during Newcastle's victory against Tottenham. In the visiting dugout with be Chris Hughton, who will return to St James' Park for the first time since he was surprisingly dismissed as manager.

"I wasn't party to why he left and I don't really want to comment on that," Pardew said. "All I can say on a professional level is he did a super job."

Newcastle United v Norwich City is today, kick-off 3pm