MEHDI Abeid is looking to put his African Cup of Nations behind him – by helping Newcastle United climb the Premier League.
Abeid missed out on a place in Algeria’s squad for the tournament because of a broken toe.
The midfielder – who suffered the injury training with his country in November – made his second comeback from the problem against Hull City last weekend.
“It was a long injury, and I’m really happy to be back, even for three or four minutes,” Abeid said.
Abeid’s return is all the more important given injury concerns over his midfield colleague Cheik Tiote, who has been struggling with an ankle problem while on African Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast.
The 22-year-old – who made an abortive comeback in early December – replaced Sammy Ameobi late in Newcastle’s 3-0 win at the KC Stadium.
And Abeid is pushing for a start against Stoke City at St James’s Park on Sunday.
“Hopefully, I can have many more minutes in the future,” said Abeid.
“I hope I will have many more games – I want to play a lot. If the manager gives me a chance, I will try to show myself.”
Abeid – whose Algeria team-mates were knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations at the quarter-final stage last weekend – was desperately disappointed to miss the tournament.
“It was hard for me to miss the competition, but I didn’t want to go 50 per cent,” said Abeid.
“I wanted someone to go who could help the team and who was 100 per cent.”
Now close to 100 per cent fitness, Abeid is looking for 11th-placed Newcastle to build on their win over Hull, the Magpies’ first under new head coach John Carver.
“We have three points, and we are happy with that,” said Abeid.
“We dominated the game in the second half, and we were happy to come back to Newcastle with the win.
“It’s always positive to have a win. I hope we will have many more.”
Meanwhile, Ivory Coast progressed to the final of the African Cup of Nations last night – without Tiote.
Tiote was not involved in the 3-1 win over DR Congo because of an ankle problem. Yaya Toure, Gervinho and Wilfried Kanon scored to set up a final date with Asamoah Gyan’s Ghana or hosts Equatorial Guinea, who meet tonight.