Demba Ba refuses to set himself any targets

 

Newcastle striker Demba Ba will not set himself any targets other than having fun on the pitch.

The 26-year-old Senegal international has been a revelation since his arrival on Tyneside, putting all talk of a suspect knee to one side with 13 goals for the Magpies to take his tally since he joined from West Ham in January to 20.

His contribution for the Magpies has come in his last 12 Barclays Premier League starts, and he has quickly established himself as a crowd favourite.

However, Ba, whose double in midweek could not deny West Brom victory, insists he arrived on Tyneside without any landmark in his mind.

He said: "I don't really expect to score 10 or 15 or five or 20 goals - when I first came I just wanted to play, to have fun on the pitch, to show the whole club that the trust they put in me I was going to give it back.

"That's what has happened. I just have fun when I play, and think people see it on a Saturday or a Sunday."

Ba's impending departure for African Cup of Nations duty with Senegal will leave manager Alan Pardew with a huge gap to plug.

Indeed, the Magpies are hoping to delay their star striker's departure until the last possible minute, with the manager hopeful of holding on to him until after the home clash with QPR on January 15.

Pardew's keenness to do so is understandable, with the club currently entrenched in a six-game run without a victory which has seen them slip out of the top four and into seventh place.

While few would have expected Newcastle to take much more than the one point they did from successive games against Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea, they themselves would have banked on the same return from a trip to Norwich and home clashes with Swansea and West Brom.

Injuries and suspensions have bitten hard into the squad during that period, but Ba, who will lead the line once again at Bolton on Boxing Day as the Magpies attempt to end their drought, insists spirits have not dropped as a result.

He said: "I don't think it has affected anybody in the team and personally, it hasn't affected me.

"When you look at the schedule, we have played three of the top teams and we could have got more from that.

"We just missed some of the little things that could have made a victory or something else.

"But it hasn't affected me and it hasn't affected the team, and we are just going to try to get back to winning."

The fixtures come thick and fast over the holiday period, something which will be a new experience for Ba, who arrived at Upton Park from Hoffenheim only at the end of January.

He admits he does not know how he will cope with the gruelling programme, but is looking forward to it.

He said: "I don't know, it will be the first time because last season, I came just after that.

"But I think I am going to enjoy it because games are more exciting than training."

Pardew has already indicated influential midfielder Yohan Cabaye will return to the starting line-up after serving a one-match ban in midweek, despite his delight with Haris Vuckic's display as his replacement in his first Premier League start against the Baggies.

Left-back Davide Santon failed to return after the break with a knee problem, and while the Italian's injury is being assessed, Ryan Taylor was fit enough after an ankle injury to play the second half as his replacement.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent