New signing Florian Thauvin could be thrown straight into the Newcastle United squad for Saturday’s trip to Manchester United.
Thauvin, 22, agreed a five-year deal at St James’ Park on Wednesday, becoming manager Steve McClaren’s fifth signing after Georginio Wijnaldum, Ivan Toney, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba.
And the French attacker – who has moved from Marseille – could hardly have wished for a tougher debut, with Newcastle having only picked up one victory at Old Trafford in the Premier League era.
However, assistant boss Paul Simpson has no qualms about utilising Thauvin as soon as possible.
“He’s a really talented footballer, somebody who we hope will add to the group and improve the group,” Simpson told nufcTV.
“If he’s involved at Old Trafford on Saturday, we’re not expecting him to go and set the world alight straight away but if we can get him involved it’ll give the whole football club a boost, and the rest of the players because they want competition for places.
“And I also hope it’ll give the supporters a boost, because so far we’ve only got one point but the level of performance against Southampton [in a 2-2 draw] gave us all a little taster of where we can get to and what levels can be achieved.
“Hopefully, with the new signings coming in, we’ll go into the rest of this period before January with a good group of players, a group of players who all want to be part of this football club, who all want to give 100 per cent every day in training and in every game that we have.
“If we’ve got that, we can’t really ask any more of them.”
Louis van Gaal’s side came from behind to register a 3-1 first-leg victory over Club Brugge in their UEFA Champions League play-off on Tuesday and are one of just four clubs to hold a 100 per cent record in the Premier League after two matches.
Defender Chris Smalling is determined to maintain that momentum and believes Saturday’s early kick-off could prove beneficial for United, who saw transfer target Pedro head to Chelsea on Thursday.
“We must continue our good start,” Smalling told MUTV. “It is another home game and we have to assert ourselves early on.
“It is good that we again get to be in the first game that plays and, hopefully, set the benchmark for the weekend.”
Marouane Fellaini serves the last game of his three-match ban for United, while Phil Jones is set to remain sidelined due to mild thrombosis.
Newcastle, meanwhile, have Daryl Janmaat suspended after the Dutchman was sent off for two bookable offences in last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Swansea City.
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