YOHAN Cabaye will put his friendship with Demba Ba on hold for 90 minutes at St James’s Park – then buy him dinner.
Former Newcastle United striker Ba returns to St James’s Park tomorrow with new club Chelsea.
The 27-year-old – who left for Stamford Bridge early in last month’s transfer window – struck up a close friendship with Cabaye during his year and a half on Tyneside.
And Cabaye – who scored in United’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Tuesday night – is looking forward to facing him at St James’s Park.
“He’s my close friend, and I’m happy to meet him in Newcastle,” Cabaye told the Gazette.
“He’s a fantastic person, but I’m playing for Newcastle and fighting for Newcastle.
“He’s playing for Chelsea. During the 90 minutes, he is going to be my opposite.
“At the end we are going to have a dinner together. A game is a game. I want the three points, and he wants the three points as well.”
Newcastle’s win at Villa Park saw the club move four points clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone.
Cabaye says last week’s influx of players has helped reinvigorate the team, which had been getting sucked ever closer to the drop zone.
And the competition they will bring to the squad will up the standards on the training field, according to Cabaye.
“What is good for us is that the new players maybe gave us a new spirit on the pitch,” added Cabaye. “We will have more competition for the weekend.
“It will be important to do the right things on the training ground in the week to be in the starting XI.
“It was a good transfer window for Newcastle, but now we have to focus on the games, and every match will be like a cup final for us.
“Saturday is going to be another tough game. We have to do the right things and fight for every ball to get a result.”
Meanwhile, United manager Alan Pardew is hopeful Ba can be kept quiet, but he knows that one chance is all the Senegal international needs to have an influence on a game.
“We missed Demba in the three games before we got a replacement,” said Pardew.
“He’s a fine player, and is doing a super job for Chelsea. If we give him a chance, he’ll score.
“We’ve got to limit his opportunities.
“He’s a clinical finisher, and it’s about not giving him those moments.”