It would seem like madness now but back in August Demba Ba was available but didn’t even get on the pitch when we played sunderland at their place. It was later revealed at the time he wasn’t totally fit as he was feeling the effects of observing Ramadan and remained on the bench with Shola used as a lone striker!

Since then of course Ba has become integral to the team and without his 16 (in only 21 league games) goals….

In advance of the mackem match, Alan Pardew has speaking about how important Demba No.1 is to his plans:

“I think this is a big game for Demba. Against Wolves, and I spoke to him after the game, I thought he could have played better. We need him at his best if we’re going to win this game and I think he’s aware of that.

As well as his goals, he’s got a real responsibility for helping us when we come up against a five-man midfield, which I’m pretty sure is what we’re going to get.

We can’t lose that area like we did against Wolves in periods of the game, so he’s going to be very important to us”.

I think since the arrival of (Demba No.2) Papiss Cissé, Ba has maybe taken time to get used to a slightly different role in the team but this very short-term pain is going to be repaid massively as the front two find the right mix up front.

Three goals in three matches between them already since Cissé’s arrival, just imagine what it is going to be like when they really click!