ALAN Pardew hopes that the worst of Newcastle United’s injury crisis is over – after welcoming Yohan Cabaye back into the fold.
Cabaye, back after groin surgery in November, came off the bench in Saturday’s goalless draw at Norwich.
Defender Steven Taylor should be available for Saturday’s vital home game against Reading, and Hatem Ben Arfa, the team’s creative force, is pencilled in to return next month.
Pardew is confident that Newcastle can finally start to pull away from the Premier League’s relegation zone.
“There was no doubt he’d (Cabaye) have come on,” Pardew said. “No matter what the score was, he was going to get 20 minutes at least.
“He needed it for Reading – we need that quality out there.
“Regardless of who is manager of this football club, we need quality players to win games.
“At last I had players on the pitch that looked like a Newcastle team. That’s how it should be.”
Saturday’s Carrow Road clash was a bore.
Chris Hughton’s Canaries only had two serious attempts on goal – a Russell Martin shot that clipped the post and a late header from captain Grant Holt.
With the unfit Holt consigned to the bench for most of the match, Norwich lacked a clinical edge up front while the quality of their passing in the final third, and their crossing, was poor.
Toothless Newcastle, who had lost their previous four games, fared even worse in going forward. Papiss Cisse worked hard up front, but he failed to test keeper Mark Bunn.
Norwich: Bunn, Martin, Bassong, Turner, Garrido, Pilkington, Johnson, Tettey, Snodgrass (Elliott Bennett 77), Hoolahan, Jackson (Holt 68). Subs not used: Rudd, Fox, Barnett, Ryan Bennett, Kane.
Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Perch, Anita (Bigirimana 84), Obertan (Cabaye 57), Marveaux, Gutierrez, Cisse. Subs not used: Harper, Amalfitano, Sammy Ameobi, Ranger, Tavernier. Booked: Debuchy.
Att: 26,752. Ref: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).