NEWCASTLE United’s Sylvain Marveaux is battling to play again this season with the midfielder currently sidelined with a groin problem, writes Miles Starforth.
And Marveaux is fighting to be fit for the relegation-threatened club’s last two Premier League games.
The 27-year-old – who has been troubled by groin problems in the past – is yet to resume full training.
Marveaux has been doing fitness work with the likes of hamstring-victim Davide Santon, who has a slim chance of being fit for Newcastle’s final game of the season against Arsenal.
He had found form being succumbing to injury last month.
And United – who were 17th in the league ahead of this afternoon’s game against West Ham United at Upton Park – need his creative influence in midfield.
Newcastle face Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road a week today, but the odds are seemginly against Marveaux returning against Harry Redknapp’s relegated side.
Injuries have beset the club this season, and United manager Alan Pardew, without the suspended Mathieu Debuchy, lost left-back Massadio Haidara to a hamstring problem this week.
However, influential captain Fabricio Coloccini, sidelined since February with a back injury, was set to make his comeback against West Ham.
“Full-back has been a bit of a problem for us, but that’s our season,” Pardew said.
“I know everyone’s saying I keep talking about the injuries, but we’ve just had one after another. We seem to lose a player every game. We’ve accepted that.
“But I think, with Colo being fit, that’s a massive help for us. We need his experience and leadership.”
Coloccini’s leadership has been missed on and off the field.
In his absence, Pardew’s team has been captained by midfielder Yohan Cabaye, whose form has dipped in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, it’s fair to say it’s not been the easiest week of Pardew’s managerial career.
Criticism of Pardew and his beleaguered Newcastle United players, in the wake of last weekend’s 6-0 defeat to Liverpool, has been unflinching and uncompromising.
It’s been unavoidable. It’s been brutal.
What’s been written in print has been measured compared to what’s been said in the pubs and clubs of Tyneside.
No one at the club has been spared, and Pardew himself has taken the biggest battering.
But he’s taken the bulk of it on the chin. He’s had to. After all, the loss was United’s worst at home in 88 years.
However, the club did react strongly to suggestions of dressing-unrest.
For his part, Pardew has had to keep his focus on relegation-threatened Newcastle’s last three Premier League games, with West Ham United this afternoon’s opponents at Upton Park.
To do that, he’s had to insulate himself from much of what has been said by supporters and media alike.
“It’s important that my psychology for the game is strong,” Pardew said.
“I’m an experienced manager now. I’m not a young manager.
“In the past I would have reacted to some of the criticism this week. I haven’t reacted to any, and I’m not going to.
“I listen to it. If I think it’s got any substance, I’ll address it. But most of it has been really unhelpful, and not fair.
“That, I can easily dismiss. I’ll accept that and keep myself together.
“When I turn up in that dressing room (at Upton Park), trust me, I want to win that game.
“I want to do everything I can to win it. I don’t care what’s been said.”