MATHIEU Debuchy set to return to Newcastle United’s starting XI at Carrow Road tonight – after being hit in the pocket for his suspension.
Debuchy was banned for three games after being sent off on New Year’s Day.
The 28-year-old made a two-footed lunge at Claudio Yacob in the club’s defeat to West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns.
While United manager Alan Pardew does not want to see Debuchy, a fierce competitor, lose his natural aggression, he doesn’t want to see any more reckless tackles from the right-back.
And to that end Pardew has fined Debuchy for the challenge.
“I do want to take that tackle out of Mathieu’s armoury,” Pardew told SportMail.
“He can’t afford to do that again for the rest of the year – and the rest of the time he’s here.
“I’ve made that clear to him. He’s been fined, quite substantially, for that.
“But he’s an aggressive player, and I’ll never stop him being aggressive.”
Debuchy made his Newcastle debut in a goalless draw against Chris Hughton’s Norwich at Carrow Road just over a year ago after joining from Lille in a £5m illion deal.
After adjusting to the pace and power of English football, Debuchy has gone from strength to strength.
“He’s a class player for us,” said Pardew. “We lost two of the three games for which he was suspended. That was a factor. It’s nice to have him back.”
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has deputised for Debuchy at right-back, and he could drop down to the bench at Carrow Road.
l ADAM Armstrong has fired his way into contention for tonight’s game at Carrow Road.
The 17-year-old has been prolific this season at youth level.
And Pardew – who is without the injured Papiss Demba Cisse – has rewarded the 17-year-old with a first-team call-up.
“We’re focused on local boys, and we’ve got a player, in Armstrong, who is knocking on the door,” Pardew told SportMail.
“We’ve got a lot of players out on loan, so Armstrong has got a chance to come into the squad for Norwich.”
Armstrong could make the bench against Norwich.
Even if he doesn’t get on the pitch at Carrow Road, Pardew is confident Newcastle fans will get a glimpse of the talented player between now and the end of the season.
“Whether he makes the bench or not, I’ll have to wait and see,” added Pardew.
“But I’m pretty sure he’ll get a start, or some involvement, this year if he carries on as he’s doing.
“He’s doing absolutely brilliantly for us.”