... freeing Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba for New Year duty in the Premier League. But Newcastle could lose a striker to the Africa Cup of Nations after all, with Nigeria monitoring Shola Ameobi.
He will still be without Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote, and with Nigeria revealing that they would be prepared to draft Ameobi into their squad ... the Toon boss must be shaking his head.
Nigeria head coach Stephen Keshi: "Shola is a good striker and he has a chance to be on the plane to South Africa.
"I've been watching him closely and he's got something unique.
"He will definitely bring something different to the attack.
"I have Shola and (Everton's) Victor Anichebe in my striking plans."