Alan Pardew

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

It's not just Alan Pardew and the Newcastle United supporters who have been delighted with the club's January business so far - the manager's secretary is happy too.

Long-serving employee Sue Banks types up the squad list for every game and in recent weeks, that sheet of paper has included several inexperienced teenagers after injuries and suspensions took their toll.

But with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Yoan Gouffran, Massadio Haidara and Moussa Sissoko all added to the party which flew to Aston Villa for Tuesday night's crucial fixture, Pardew explained that despite having some difficult names to contend with, his secretary was happy with the new additions.

"We needed to strengthen, there's no doubt about that, and we've accelerated some transfers that perhaps we were going to look to make in the summer - Sissoko being the main one in that group," he said.

"Derek Llambias has done a terrific job, as Mike (Ashley) did in getting that one over the line and it makes us a lot stronger. It gives us depth, it gives us cover where haven't had with the injury crisis that we suffered earlier in the season. We're now coming out of that and we haven't got too much to moan about.

"We're still missing (Hatem) Ben Arfa but the group is much stronger.

"Our secretary was very, very pleased to type up the list of players that were travelling because she said it's the first time I haven't put any young Reserve players on there. So it's cheered her up if nothing else and given us a great boost.

"It's very important because we've had to play young players here who are good young players before their time, and it's been unfair on them."

All four of the new boys travelled to Villa Park, with three of them in line to make their Newcastle debuts whether it be from the start or as substitutes.

The boss said: "Massadio, the left-back we brought in, is really one for the future. He definitely won't be involved although I will take him in the squad for this game.

"The other three are in contention and really it's about getting the balance right in the team.

"Of course they're new guys and we're trying to settle them in and get them feeling comfortable - having so many French players here has helped, obviously - and so far the signs have been progressive and good."