25 July 2014 09:56
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is hopeful close-season signing Siem de Jong will be fit to face Wellington Phoenix on Saturday.
De Jong, 25, missed training on Friday with a foot injury, but the former Ajax forward is expected to play in Wellington as he looks to add to his tally of two goals in as many pre-season friendlies.
Pardew played down the significance of De Jong missing training and wants to see him get much-needed game time.
“We think he will be okay for the game and there’s a good chance he will start, because he needs the match practice,” he told the club’s official website.
Pardew’s men, who thrashed Sydney FC 4-0 in Dunedin, face a Phoenix side who stunned West Ham 2-1 in Auckland on Wednesday.
He was surprised by the result, but insisted that there were no excuses for his team in their final game of their tour of New Zealand.
“Wellington got a good result against West Ham and it sets up the game against us very nicely after our win,” Pardew said.
“It surprised me, of course, because West Ham have got some fantastic players and are a good side.
“We will go into the game on the back of a tough day’s training [on Thursday] followed by a lighter day in preparation [on Friday]. So we will be in good shape and will have no excuses.
“I’m sure it will be a competitive game in which both teams give their all. We will be committed to win the game and are really looking forward to it.”