Papiss Demba Cisse may be unable to make his debut for new club Newcastle against Blackburn on Wednesday despite Senegal's early exit from the African Cup of Nations.
Cisse completed his £10 million move from Freiburg earlier this month, but has yet to appear for his new club because of his participation in the ongoing tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
However Senegal’s unexpected exit from the tournament means both Cisse and fellow Toon striker Demba Ba will return to the North East earlier than expected, prompting speculation both could be inline for a return in time for the game at Ewood Park.
However manager Alan Pardew has admitted both players may not return to the line up on Wednesday, because of Senegal’s plans now they have exited the tournament.
"Just because Senegal are going home doesn't necessarily mean they'll be playing for us next week," Pardew told reporters. “It's not as simple as that and I couldn't really say what their chances are.”
"We have to contact Senegal about their plans, because they might want to fly back together as a squad, but we will be pushing to get them back to Newcastle."
Newcastle have performed well in the absence of top-scorer Ba in particular and currently occupy a top six spot, but suffered a humbling 5-2 defeat against Fulham last week having taken a 1-0 lead.
While Pardew described their early return to the Sports Direct Arena as a ‘big bonus’, the former West Ham boss admitted he was worried about the psychological damage they may have suffered because of their role in Senegal’s failed campaign.
I hope they're not too damaged because, considering Senegal's ranking, they'll be disappointed by the two results so far," said Pardew.
"And they still have one game to go, which will be difficult with them already being out.
"But the plus side is that they are heading back here and they will definitely be involved for the Aston Villa game on Sunday week and that is a big bonus for us."
Of more immediate concern for Pardew is his side’s F.A Cup fourth round tie against Brighton on Saturday, a game that captain Fabricio Coloccini looks set to miss with a groin injury.
"We'll just have to wait and see, but at this stage he's a doubt," Pardew commented.