Fabricio Coloccini’s bombshell is more woe for Newcastle United
- Credit: PA
Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew is attempting to head off a fresh crisis after captain Fabricio Coloccini's continued presence on Tyneside was thrown into doubt.
The 30-year-old Argentina international is reported to have indicated his desire to return to South America for personal reasons, although the club was not commenting on the matter yesterday.
Defender Coloccini signed a four-year contract extension in March last year as Pardew tied up one of his most influential players on a long-term deal.
However, he has struggled to reproduce his stunning form of last season this time around, while Pardew acknowledged there had been a difference of opinion between the two as the busy Christmas programme approached.
The current issue is understood not to be football-related and while delicate negotiations are under way, Coloccini's future remains uncertain ahead of his anticipated return to the squad for today's Premier League game against the Canaries.
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Whether or not Coloccini features, Pardew will hand former Lille full-back Mathieu Debuchy his debut at Carrow Road, while scorer Papiss Cisse also returns after missing last week's 2-0 FA Cup third round defeat at Brighton.
Pardew's injury problems have eased with the news that Yohan Cabaye is expected to return to the bench after a groin strain, but Steven Taylor and Hatem Ben Arfa are still sidelined and Shola Ameobi is suspended after his red card last week.
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Pardew knows his big names will be needed to end a dismal run of just four points from 10 away league games.
He said: 'We are getting some senior bodies back around the team at a crucial time. We really need to get some momentum back for our fans, who we really let down last week. It is important that we give a really good account of ourselves at Norwich and start getting points on the board.
'We have been very competitive and we just need that break to give us the win and the good feeling in the group.
'I don't think we're a million miles away from that. Certainly the team that played last week was a shadow of the one that will line up at Norwich.'
Pardew believes midfielder Cabaye will be key to his side's recovery.
'At the start of the season we were unaware Yohan was carrying an injury and so it didn't look like he was playing his best football for us, certainly not as well as he had been playing at the end of last year,' he added.
'But he looks much better now. His movement and passing is better and he is going to make a big, big difference for us because so much of our play goes through him.'