YOAN Gouffran is worth his weight in goals to Newcastle United.
The forward joined the club from Bordeaux for a cut-price £500,000 fee in January.
Gouffran, set to face Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium tonight, all but repaid that in the latter months of last season when he helped Newcastle stay in the Premier League.
And the 27-year-old – who, surprisingly, has been overlooked at senior level by France despite his form in England – has cemented his place in Alan Pardew’s in-form side this season.
Gouffran took his goal tally for the season to five with a strike in Saturday’s 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion.
Pardew, however, believes there’s much more to come from hard-working Gouffran, who is admired on Tyneside as much for his graft and guile as his goals.
“I still think it’s early for Gouff,” Pardew said.
“But at the minute, he’s doing terrifically.
“And don’t underestimate his technical ability.
“He’s made some good assists in terms of building play and being involved in very important goals.”
United watched Gouffran on a number of occasions before making a move 11 months ago.
And Pardew got a close look at Gouffran when he turned out for Bordeaux against Newcastle at St James’s Park in the Europa League last season.
“He’s certainly justified the faith we had in him,” said Pardew.
“He played against us for Bordeaux. He was a handful. Every game we looked at, he was the same. He was consistent. That was what we wanted.
“He’s a good character. We’ve done a lot of work on him. So far, it’s paying off.”
NEWCASTLE United’s fans will go the extra mile to back their team at the Liberty Stadium tonight.
The club’s supporters have had to make this season’s longest journey - it is 350 miles by road - in midweek.
And United manager Alan Pardew’s conscious of the sacrifices they have made to watch his side take on Swansea City.
Newcastle sold their 1,000 ticket away allocation for the club’s fourth visit to the Liberty Stadium despite the dreadful decision to stage the game on a midweek.
“We know it’s a long trip on a Wednesday night, and hard to get home from and get to work,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“So we’ll try to give the best performance we can, and make that journey a bit more palatable.”
Newcastle have won one, drawn one and lost one at the Liberty Stadium.
And the victory - which came two seasons ago - was particularly memorable, with Papiss Demba Cisse scoring twice in a comfortable 2-0 win which strengthened the club’s European credentials.
However, Swansea edged a tight game 1-0 last term in different circumstances, with United having been battling relegation at the time.
“It was a great performance two years ago,” said Pardew. “I was really disappointed last year. I felt we deserved something.
“It was one of those games away from home, like Stoke (a 2-1 defeat), when we thought we might get a win. It got away from us.
“It was one of those seasons where nothing went for us. Whereas the year before everything went for us, and we got magical goals.
“This year it’s so far, so good. Let’s hope that continues at Swansea.”
ALAN Pardew’s will freshen up his Newcastle United side for Saturday’s visit to Old Trafford - if he feels there are any tired legs after tonight’s game against Swansea City.
Pardew has named a largely unchanged starting XI during the club’s four-game winning streak.
But there wasn’t a midweek fixture in that run.
And Pardew will assess his players, among them striker Shola Ameobi, tomorrow and Friday ahead of the club’s game against Manchester United.
“I’lI see what happens at Swansea,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“That will give me a reflection of how we’ve gone from Saturday to Wednesday.
“Then we’ll see how go from Wednesday to Saturday.
“There’ll be one or two players I’ll be looking at to make sure they’re OK, Shola in particular. That, I’ll have to gauge.
“The good thing at the minute is that I’m changing a winning team if I do do that. That’s a good scenario for a player to come into.”
Pardew revealed on Monday that a number of his players had been “knocking on his door” asking to play, having been left out of the starting XI in recent weeks.
For the most part, the only changes Pardew has made have been enforced through injury or suspension.
Hatem Ben Arfa, Vurnon Anita and Papiss Demba Cisse have been on the bench.
Pardew also has fit-again Steven Taylor available, while Jonas Gutierrez returned from “personal leave” in his native Argentina last month.