Bernard: Toon can compete

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Newcastle United favourite Olivier Bernard says the club's French contingent can help Alan Pardew's side compete in the Barclays Premier League.

After Pardew failed to sign a second forward in the January transfer window, and lost the likes of Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan and Jose Enrique, fears have grown that the club could be fighting at the wrong end of the table this season.

However, Bernard, who was part of Sir Bobby Robson's side which came close to winning the league in 2003, insists the summer signings can assist the club climb the table.

“I’m pretty happy with what they’ve done (in the transfer market), but obviously we still want a No9,” Bernard said.

“I think we’re good enough through the midfield to really play well.

“We have good footballers through the midfield. I feel Newcastle will be strong enough. We could be stronger, but we’re strong enough to compete.”

"Yohan Cabaye has done really well,” added Bernard. “He’s tidy player. He’s not afraid of a tackle and he’s very clever.

“He switches the play and I believe he and Cheik Tiote can be one of the best pairs in the Premier League.

“I think Marveaux has proved he can live with the squad. He is respected in France – Charles N’Zogbia had to play left-back for France because of him.

“He’s not just a squad player and I think he can do a lot of good things for the club.”


“I think Obertan is going to do a lot – he’s not a second-best signing. He’s a really good player.

“I really liked Demba Ba at West Ham. He wasn’t 100 per cent against Scunthorpe (in the Carling Cup), but as the club hasn’t signed a No9, he will have to lead the line.

“It’s a big task for him, but with the midfield and passing ability, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”

Bernard knows all about settling in as a Frenchman in the Premier League, but says the new contingent will get over their early season worries.

“I think the French players will adapt,” he said. “I watched the derby (against Sunderland) and they were not 100 per cent – it was too soon for them to play a derby.

“We have lost Kevin Nolan – who was a big presence on the pitch and a big voice in the dressing room – and somebody has to fill that gap.”

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