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Masked man Ameobi set to return

Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi is ready to return to action, but will wear a protective face mask as he is still recovering from a broken cheekbone.

Ameobi has missed the last four games due to the injury he suffered against Fulham, but visited a specialist in the United States to be fitted for the mask, which has been used with success by basketball players in the NBA.

''Shola has had a week with the mask, just getting used to it,'' Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said. ''There was no point getting him to wear the mask, ask him to play and he wasn't comfortable with it.

''He has to have that confidence it is going to protect him so he can throw himself around as usual. The guy who has designed the mask has done so loads of times before with basketball players and that is a far more risky sport when it comes to elbows in the face and injuries like this.

''But Shola still had to try it out, he's done that now and it would be great to have him involved at the weekend. I'm a big admirer of Shola, he's a very good player and he will give us an extra physical presence.''

New loan signing Stephen Ireland is also set to start for the club against Everton at the weekend after recovering from injury, while there are reports that Newcastle are keen on brining in former Liverpool left-back John Arne Riise to replace wantaway Jose Enrique.

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