Alan Pardew pleased with Demba Ba progress

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NEWCASTLE UNITED boss Alan Pardew says he is happy with new striker Demba Ba.

The former West Ham striker did not score in Tuesday night’s win against Columbus Crew, but did enough to impress his new manager.

And Pardew is relishing Ba linking up with Hatem Ben Arfa, as well as midfielders Sylvain Marveaux, Dan Gosling and Haris Vuckic, who also shone in the club’s final United States tour game.

Goals from Vuckic, Shola Ameobi and Fabricio Coloccini gave Newcastle a morale-boosting 3-0 win over the Major League Soccer side ahead of Sunday’s visit to Championship club Leeds United.

Ba had been quiet in his first couple of games, but his sharpness was back in Ohio.

“I really enjoyed Demba’s play,” Pardew said.

“He played slightly withdrawn. His link-up play was excellent, and his movement caught us out at times. He’s so quick, he made a move, and then a different move by the time the pass had gone.

“It was a shame he didn’t get a goal, but he was a real highlight for me, as was Dan Gosling.

“Marveaux also played well, and it was a good night for us.”

Vuckic scored the goal of the night, curling the ball into the top right-hand corner from the edge of the box in injury-time against 10-man Columbus Crew, who had their goalkeeper sent off on the stroke of half-time with United leading 1-0.

And the 18-year-old – who missed the bulk of last season through injury – could have a significant role to play over the coming campaign.

Pardew went on: “Haris got a super goal. It was a small cameo, but he’s a talented player.

“Dan, Haris and Ben Arfa were all in the squad last year, but of course we never saw them through injury. They were real bonuses for us.”