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May 8, 2013

Sissoko doubful for Newcastle

Newcastle United are concerned that midfielder Moussa Sissoko will miss the club's final two games of the season.

A report in the Journal claims that the France international missed Saturday's 0-0 draw at West Ham United with a knee injury.

Consequently he is now considered a major doubt for the club's trip to Queens Park Rangers at the weekend and the home visit of Arsenal on the final day of the season.

Sissoko made an instantaneous impact for the Magpies when he provided an assist for Papiss Cisse against Aston Villa on his debut. He followed that up with two goals in a 3-2 victory over Chelsea at St James' Park just three days later.

Should he be unavailable for selection, manager Alan Pardew will be forced to shuffle his midfield. Having hoped to relocate Sissoko into a deeper position and allow Hatem Ben Arfa more freedom, he may look to instead incorporate summer signing Vurnon Anita into a deeper lying role.

The Magpies may also travel to Loftus Road on Sunday without striker Shola Ameobi. Having left Upton Park on crutches, the striker's fitness is also being assessed ahead of Sunday's game. In desperate need of three points, Pardew was also forced to admit that star midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa is not at 100% fitness.

Although Sissoko has been unable to train of late, Pardew has not written off the 23-year-old's season completely. And despite a number of injury concerns, the Magpies have been boosted by the return of Sammy Ameobi and Shane Ferguson from loan spells at Middlesbrough and Birmingham City respectively.

Ferguson in particular left a notable impression during his temporary stay in the Midlands, with manager Lee Clark describing the player as 'a breath of fresh air' - confirming he would be keen to bring the Northern Ireland international back to St Andrews next season.

"Fergie has been brilliant for us – both at left wing and left- back," Clark said. "He has made goals and scored goals too. He has been a breath of fresh air, to be honest. We would not hesitate in taking him back next season if the chance came up."

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