Newcastle make Ebola provisions ahead of African Nations Cup

The club are concerned about the possibility of players contracting the virus

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The Independent Football

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has revealed the club are making provisions for their African Nations Cup hopefuls amid the Ebola crisis on the continent.

Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote and Senegal striker Papiss Cisse were heading back from qualifiers for the finals tournament, which takes place in Morocco in January, to Tyneside on Thursday.

However, with concerns currently being raised about the safety of players, officials and fans alike as the disease continues to claim lives in Africa and now further afield, the Magpies have moved in an attempt to protect both the players and their families.

Pardew said: "We would be naive not have concerns. We have a strategy for when they return and making sure they and their families are taken care of.

"They are essential to us and our doctor has looked into the problems that might arise and also protection for them, and to make sure we do our very best to help them."

Tiote was part of the Ivorian side which played a double-header against DR Congo, while Cisse's Senegal faced Tunisia home and away.

Whether or not the finals go ahead as planned remains to be seen, but Newcastle will maintain a watching brief as those discussions continue.

Pardew said: "That's something that will play out as we go along. That kind of decision is a big big one and I'm sure the countries will make that rather than club managers.

"It's something to be concerned about and we have to be on our guard."

 

Meanwhile, it is the more mundane matter of arresting an alarming start to the Barclays Premier League season which will be of more immediate concern to Pardew this weekend.

Newcastle have won none of their first seven league fixtures and will break a club record if they fail to end that run when promoted Leicester arrive at St James' Park on Saturday.

Pardew will complete 700 games as a permanent manager in the process, something he may not have done just yet had his most ardent critics had their way in recent weeks.

A 2-2 draw at Swansea last time out sent Newcastle into the break for international matches on the back of a positive result, although one which was only secure after they had gone 1-0 and 2-1 down, and some travelling fans once again voiced their disapproval.

Pardew said: "I don't think it's about calming down. We haven't won a game yet and Newcastle United need to win.

"We are paid to win games, not to draw games or be honourable losers, so we need to win and therefore the pressure is very much on me and the team. We shouldn't shirk that."

Pardew will at least have first-choice goalkeeper Tim Krul at his disposal after the elbow injury with which he returned early from the Holland camp proved to be minor.

Defenders Daryl Janmaat and Paul Dummett, who withdrew from international duty with Holland and Wales respectively because of injury, are also fit, although Pardew knows what otherwise might have been a landmark day in his career is one which could have a significant say in his immediate future.

He said: "It's not easy at the moment, there have been easier times. When you are winning, things can fall into place. Where we are right now when you're fighting for every result, it makes it difficult and stressful.

"I've enjoyed, I'd say, 80 per cent of it, most of it has been pretty good. The most important is where we are right now. We are desperate for a win and I really want to deliver it on Saturday."

PA

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