NEWCASTLE United are facing up to losing a THIRD player to the African Cup of Nations.
Mehdi Abeid has been called up by Algeria for the tournament, which kicks off in Equatorial Guinea next month.
Experienced duo Cheik Tiote and Papiss Demba Cisse will also head to African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast and Senegal respectively.
Abeid is yet to make his senior international debut, having suffered a broken toe training with his Algeria team-mates last month.
But the midfielder’s performances have impressed coach Christian Gourcuff this season, and he was included yesterday in his 23-man squad.
Speaking last month, Abeid admitted he was keen to represent his country in the tournament.
“Of course, it’s in my mind,” said Abeid. “It will depend on the choice of the manager.
“I have a chance, and I will try to do my best, but the most important thing to is play for Newcastle. We will see what will be.
“I want to impose myself here, and then think of my national team. My first thought is to play a lot of games for Newcastle.”
Algeria play their first game against South Africa on January 19, while their last group fixture is against Cisse’s Senegal on January 27.
The final is played on February 8, should Algeria get that far.
It means that Abeid could be missing for up to a month, with Newcastle having to release him for training a week before the competition starts.