GABRIEL Obertan has declared himself fit to face his former club Manchester United.
The Newcastle United winger, signed from Old Trafford last summer, was a doubt for tomorrow night’s home game with a toe injury.
It had been feared the 22-year-old – who missed two games earlier in the season with a toe infection – faced several weeks on the sidelines after suffering a recurrence in Friday night’s defeat to Liverpool.
But Obertan responded to treatment, and manager Alan Pardew expects him to be available to play at the Sports Direct Arena.
“Fortunately, we’ve come through Liverpool unscathed,” Pardew said.
“Gabriel’s fine. We were a bit worried about Gabriel’s toe after Liverpool, but he seems much better.”
Aside from long-term injury victims Steven Taylor and Sylvain Marveaux, Pardew has a near-clean bill of health ahead of the visit of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Premier League champions.
Influential duo Fabricio Coloccini and Cheik Tiote are now spared the prospect of an automatic one-game ban for another yellow card after their four bookings were wiped off after December 31.
“We’ve had a run of hard games, and injuries and suspensions haven’t helped us,” added Pardew.
The visitors, smarting from their home defeat to struggling Blackburn Rovers at the weekend, are almost certain to put in a much-improved performance.
Pardew believes his players can rise to the occasion and claim a first home victory in almost two months.
“For our fans, it’s important that we put in a proper performance. It’s a game under the floodlights, and we know our fans will be roaring us on.
“Regardless of what happened to Manchester United at the weekend, this was always going to be a difficult game.
“They’ll be up for it. They lost against one of the bottom teams, and will come with a completely different team.”
Newcastle have faced all but two of Premier League’s top six over the past few weeks, and Pardew admits to a frustration that his team haven’t taken more points from them.
“We feel we’ve not really had any luck against the big teams,” added Pardew.
“We’re just a bit frustrated, really. Against Chelsea, we were looking like getting the equaliser at 1-0 down. We could have taken the lead against Manchester City.”