Toon take under-strength squad to Athens

Dorset Echo: Demba Ba will not be playing for Newcastle on Thursday night Demba Ba will not be playing for Newcastle on Thursday night

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew headed for Greece on Wednesday morning having left some of his big guns behind.

Skipper Fabricio Coloccini, midfielder Cheick Tiote, strikers Demba Ba and Shola Ameobi and youngsters Shane Ferguson and Haris Vuckic were not due to be among the party which left Tyneside ahead of Thursday night's Europa League play-off first leg against Atromitos.

Coloccini missed Saturday's 2-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Tottenham after suffering a knock, while Ameobi was injured in the warm-up.

However, Pardew's decision to rest some of his players for the game in Athens has as much to do with the proximity of Saturday's evening's league trip to Chelsea, which will kick off less than 48 hours after the encounter at the Peristeri Stadium.

Summer signings Gael Bigirimana and Romain Amalfitano will hope for a chance to make their mark, while Vurnon Anita, who completed his move from Ajax last week, could be in line for a first start.

Pardew could even turn to teenage striking sensation Adam Campbell, who scored a hat-trick for the development team against Spurs at the weekend.

Campbell would become the club's youngest European debutant if he were involved, breaking Andy Carroll's record of 17 years and 300 days.

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