Newcastle can cope with Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote absence - Pardew

Cheik Tiote (left) and Demba Ba
Tiote (left) and Ba have headed off for the tournament that begins on 21 January

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew believes there is enough quality in the squad to cope with the absence of Africa Cup of Nations duo Cheick Tiote and Demba Ba.

Tiote, with the Ivory Coast, and , will be away at the tournament, which starts on 21 January.

"Others - Leon Best, Hatem Ben Arfa, Peter Lovenkrands - need to show their ability," Pardew told BBC Newcastle.

"If it was for half a season, I would be disappointed, but it's six or seven games and we can deal with that."

Pardew added: "It's a situation where we need to win as many games as we can.

"If we're seventh, eighth or sixth even when they come back, who knows what we can achieve?"

Both midfielder Tiote and striker Ba have been regular first-teamers, the former making 13 starts in the Premier League while the latter has been ever-present.

Ba in particular was key to the Magpies' 3-0 win against Manchester United, opening the scoring with an edge of the box half-volley to stun the league champions.

The strike took the 26-year-old's tally for the season to 15 in 21 games, within two of the division's current top scorer Robin van Persie.

"He plays two positions for us and he plays them both equally well," Pardew said.

"He plays up the top of the pitch as the last striker, giving us an outlet ball, holding the ball up and running in behind.

"And then he plays the 'number 10' role where he links the play, has to work on the back of their deep midfield players, and score goals in both positions, which he does.

"Therefore he's got himself an A-plus in my report as he heads off to Africa."

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