Newcastle United’s players are unsure from day to day whether one of their key men, prolific striker Demba Ba, will still be wearing black and white next month, and David Moyes admits that uncertainty could have a bearing on his side’s opponents today. The Blues have experienced such unsettled moments themselves, specifically when question marks abounded over Joleon Lescott’s future in summer 2009, and the scenario took its toll on morale and results at Goodison at the start of that campaign. Asked if Ba’s ongoing transfer dilemma could be on the minds of Newcastle’s players this evening, Moyes said:
“I think it can be. When it starts to go wrong you start looking around. But Alan (Pardew) keeps picking him and he’s an important player to him. He is getting the goals and a threat.
“I don’t know if it will help us. I think Alan will play him if he is available. It would not be a great thing to have around the club. We had it when Lescott was leaving the club, a similar thing. It did not work in our favour.
“Maybe it would be different with a goalscorer who plays up front. Until they get the offer, he is going to be playing for Newcastle.”
It was not long ago that Alan Pardew insisted his club had moved beyond competing with Everton as they finished fifth last term following an impressive campaign. Those comments about the Magpies being “in a different league” have returned to haunt him however, with his side currently in 15th place in the table – eight places below the Toffees. Moyes though, has some sympathy for his counterpart in the home dug-out tonight.
“I think we are all operating in similar leagues and at times this league can be really punishing,” he says.
“The Europa League can have an effect on it. It’s a tough league, you don’t know where the wins will come from.