Pardew worried about Cabaye
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is concerned over the burden he has had to place on Yohan Cabaye this season.
Pardew's players have looked increasingly weary in recent weeks as a punishing fixture schedule, thanks largely to a good run in the Europa League, has taken its toll. But while the manager is confident the likes of Moussa Sissoko and Papiss Cisse can deal with that, he concedes France international midfielder Cabaye is on his mind.
Pardew said: "Cabaye is probably my biggest worry. The rest of them are really sound physically and mentally. But Cabaye is our best player in terms of intelligence on the pitch and he needs to play. That's why he has played almost every minute."
The Frenchman has been a revelation on Tyneside since his £4.8million move from Lille during the summer of 2011, and he was one of the stars of last season's surge into fifth place in the Barclays Premier League.
However, both he and the Magpies in general have found the going tougher this time around with a European campaign thrown into the mix, and Cabaye revealed earlier this season that he had struggled both mentally and physically to cope with the demands of two tough Premier League seasons either side of a trip to the Euro 2012 finals with his country.
The 27-year-old was this week touted as a possible summer target for Paris St Germain, although manager Carlo Ancelotti has since played down the speculation.
But whatever happens at the end of the campaign, Pardew will hope to have Cabaye fresh and available for a five-game run-in with Newcastle yet to formally secure their top-flight status.
The Magpies still need at least one more win to keep them free from the scrap at the foot of the table, and will hope that comes at West Brom on Saturday as they attempt to bounce back from a demoralising derby defeat by Sunderland.