MAPOU Yanga-Mbiwa is ready to seize his chance at Newcastle United with both hands – and ease the pain of Fabricio Coloccini’s absence.
Captain Coloccini is facing a six-week spell on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury in yesterday’s 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion.
The Magpies will also be without suspended right-back Mathieu Debuchy for the next three games after he was sent off for a two-footed challenge on Claudio Yacob.
Yanga-Mbiwa – who performed well in Coloccini’s absence earlier in the season – is as comfortable at centre-half as full-back.
And the 24-year-old will be an important figure for Newcastle – who host Cardiff City in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday – over the coming weeks.
“We lost two good players – Fabricio and Mathieu,” Yanga-Mbiwa said after defeat at The Hawthorns.
“But we have a good bench. They can’t play, so it is a chance for other players.
“It’s up to the manager. If the manager needs me to play, I am ready. I will play for the team and do my best. At the training ground I do my best, work hard and wait for my chance.”
Yanga-Mbiwa replaced Coloccini shortly after Debuchy’s 63rd-minute dismissal.
“We’re disappointed,” said the France international. “We had a great chance to win, but we lost.
“We’re now thinking about the next game.”
Boss Alan Pardew is keen for a run in the FA Cup, and Yanga-Mbiwa says Newcastle’s players are now focused on progress against the Bluebirds.
“All games are a challenge for the team,” he said. “We try to become better game after game. We need to beat Cardiff.”
Meanwhile, former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could be in charge of Cardiff for the St James’s Park tie, having watched the managerless club’s defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium yesterday.
Solskjaer is manager of Molde in his native Norway.