As expected, Chancel Mbemba has been called-up by DR Congo for the African Cup of Nations finals.

Whilst it is a 31 man provisional squad initially, the Newcastle defender looks nailed on to make the final squad as he is a regular starter, even though he now struggles to get a game for NUFC at the minute.

Newcastle fans will be relaxed about his call-up with Lascelles and Clark settled as first choice – but it does leave the squad a little exposed in the centre of defence with Grant Hanley out injured at the minute.

As well as Chancel Mbemba, other Championship players have been called up by DR Congo, with Norwich City’s Youssouf Mulumbu, Birmingham City midfielder Jacques Maghoma and Neeskens Kebano of Fulham also making this 31 man squad

DR Congo are in Group C for the tournament in Gabon and they play Morocco on 16 January, then Ivory Coast 20 January and Togo in their final group match on 24 January.

Potentially, Chancel Mbemba could have been playing against two of his Newcastle teammates but Achraf Lazaar missed out for Morocco and as expected, Ivory Coast are continuing to ignore Cheick Tiote having also named their squad.

DR Congo provisional 31 man squad:

Goalkeepers:

Nicaise Mulopo Kudimbana (Royal Antwerp, Belgium), Ley Matampi (TP Mazembe), Joel Kiassumbua (FC Wohlen, Switzerland)

Defenders:

Chancel Mbemba (Newcastle United, England), Gabriel Zakuani (Northampton Town, England), Issama Mpeko (Kabuscorp, Angola), Joyce Lomalisa (Vita Club), Vital N’Simba (Bourg-Péronnas, France), Fabrice N’Sakala (Alanyaspor, Turkey), Chris Luyindama (TP Mazembe) Merveille Bope (TP Mazembe), Jordan Ikoko (Guingamp, France), Marcel Tisserand (Ingolstadt, Germany).

Midfielders:

Youssouf Mulumbu (Norwich, England), Neeskens Kebano (Fulham, England), Rémy Mulumba (Ajaccio, France), Hervé Kage (Kortrijk, Belgium), Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City, England), Paul-José M’Poku (Panathinaikos, Greece), Jonathan Bijimine (Cordoba, Spain), Wilson Kamavuaka (Panetolikos, Greece).

Forwards:

Cedric Bakambu (Villarreal, Spain), Dieumerci Mbokani (Hull City, England), Benik Afobe (Bournemouth, England), Firmin Mubele Ndombe (Vita Club), Junior Kabananga (Astana, Kazakhstan), Jordan Botaka (Charlton Athletic, England), Meschack Elia (TP Mazembe) Jonathan Bolingi (TP Mazembe), Ricky Tulengi (DCMP), Jeremy Bokila (Al-Kharitiyath, Qatar)