ALAN Pardew is hoping Yohan Cabaye and Steven Taylor will return next month to bolster Newcastle United’s flagging season.
The influential pair had been pencilled to return in early February. But Pardew has revealed there’s a chance Cabaye and Taylor will be back in the middle of next month.
Newcastle, beaten 2-1 at Craven Cottage on Monday night, have struggled to find a way to win without Cabaye’s creative vision in midfield.
And Taylor’s leadership and presence at the back has also been sorely missed in recent weeks.
Manager Pardew fielded a near-full-strength team at Craven Cottage, with Cabaye and Taylor the most significant absentees.
And until they return – or a new player arrives in next month’s transfer window – Pardew will have to go with what he’s got, with Manchester City next up on Saturday.
Asked if anyone would be fit for the visit of the Premier League champions, Pardew said: “I don’t think so.
“I think that’s the group between now and mid-January, when maybe Steven and Cabaye will come back to us. Until such time, that is the team.”
Cabaye has undergone two groin operations, while Taylor has been sidelined with a hamstring problem.
Pardew, meanwhile, welcomed back a clutch of players, including Hatem Ben Arfa, from injury at Craven Cottage.
Newcastle, and especially Ben Arfa, had their moments, though Pardew’s side were ultimately undone by an uncharacteristic defensive error from captain Fabricio Coloccini.
Ben Arfa cancelled out Steve Sidwell’s first-half opener after the break, but Hugo Rodallega beat Coloccini to a Damien Duff free-kick to score the winner.
“I thought it looked a good team,” added Pardew. “We were just a bit unfortunate not to get anything from the game.”