James Perch battling to be fit for Newcatle Utd trip to Norwich

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JAMES Perch is battling to give Newcastle United a welcome injury boost ahead the club’s visit to Carrow Road.

The utility player suffered a knee injury in last weekend’s FA Cup defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.

And Newcastle manager Alan Pardew feared he would miss Saturday’s Premier League game against Norwich City.

However, Perch has a chance of making Pardew’s squad, as do captain Fabricio Coloccini, Papiss Demba Cisse and Jonas Gutierrez, who were all due back in training today.

Pardew, hamstrung by a succession of injuries in recent months, is desperate to have them back to help the club’s battle against relegation.

“The good news is that James Perch could be available for Saturday - it’s not a longer-term injury,” Pardew said.

“Hopefully, we’ll have Jonas, Fabricio and Papiss back in training.

“We’ll have stronger players back for Norwich. We need better players on the pitch. We need the best possible team we can get.

“The real issue is that we need our best players on the pitch.

“That’s what we’re working on.”

The odds are against midfielder Yohan Cabaye and defender Steven Taylor returning from their respective groin and hamstring injuries, with Pardew reluctant to take any risks with the pair, such will be their importance to the cause between now and the end of the season.

But right-back Mathieu Debuchy, signed from Lille last week, is pencilled in to make his United debut after several days’ training with his new team-mates.

“Yohan trained on Tuesday, but I’m not sure if he’ll be involved,” added Pardew.

“There’s a determination to get our best players out there. But we can’t rush them and bring them back before they’re ready.

“We could be looking at Reading in terms of Steven Taylor.

“Mathieu Debuchy’s also been training, so things are looking a little bit healthier.”