Pardew wants schedule changes
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has urged the football authorities to take another look at the Christmas schedule to help out both clubs and the England team.
The Magpies played their fifth game in 19 days when they beat Manchester United on Wednesday and face Blackburn in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, and Pardew believes that is perhaps one fixture too many.
He said: "The thing that the FA and the Premier League must be wary of is that players playing with fatigue can get injured, and this is what happens."
He added: "We get to these tournaments and the end of the year and we are missing key players, and that's why the schedule has to be looked at now and again.
"The Christmas schedule, probably for the Premier League, is a game too far and maybe moving one of those to later in January or February would be beneficial for everybody in my opinion."
Meanwhile, Pardew is hoping Newcastle can mount an unlikely challenge for European qualification and FA Cup glory despite the loss of two of his star men.
The Magpies exploded back into top form against Manchester United, although they did so with 15-goal striker Demba Ba and key midfielder Cheick Tiote playing their final game before heading off on African Nations Cup duty with Senegal and the Ivory Coast respectively.
Pardew knows what a miss the pair will be, but he is hoping the men who take their places will be able to maintain the fight for a top-six finish - Newcastle currently lie seventh in the table.
He said: "Obviously, I am hoping so, but they are two massive players. You take a huge figure out of one of the other teams and it's significant. If you took Rooney out of Manchester United, probably they wouldn't look the same for seven games, so you have to accept that. Having said that, we have got players who are champing at the bit.
"Hatem Ben Arfa wants a chance, Leon Best wants to show what he showed last year, Peter Lovenkrands will be eager to throw his hat in the ring, so we have still got great players in the club and we hope that we can keep the momentum and the form going."