After the French influx inspired Newcastle United to their first away win of the season at the expense of Aston Villa three days ago, the Magpies return to home soil to welcome Chelsea tomorrow afternoon.

Demba Ba will make his first appearance against his former club after departing for the capital at the start of January, while the likes of Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran and the other new signings prepare for their home bow.

Since taking maximum points at Villa Park, Newcastle have given themselves breathing space above the relegation zone, as they now sit four points clear of the bottom three. However, with Chelsea and Tottenham to play over the next two weeks, the Geordies must keep picking points up if they are to make a charge towards the top half of the table in the second half of the season.

Newcastle were able to enjoy a stress-free deadline day yesterday, when other clubs were panicking and forcing deals through with minutes to spare. One deal was done though, with Servette defender Kevin Mbabu joining Newcastle, although the teenage defender is likely to be a reserve and youth team player.

One departure did come close though, as Danny Simpson was close to a move to Wigan as his contract enters its final six months. The Latics had agreed a fee and Simpson was in the North-West for a medical but reports that Newcastle upped their asking price for the right-back at the last minute made the deal collapse. Simpson will now leave on a free in the summer when his contract runs out.

Alan Pardew has no new injury worries ahead of the visit of the European champions but could welcome back Sylvain Marveaux, who missed the win over Villa with a foot injury. The winger has been in training earlier than expected but could be given another week to fully recover before being considered again.

Hatem Ben Arfa is still a couple of weeks away from a return, while Cheick Tiote is still away with Ivory Coast in the African Nations Cup. Haris Vuckic, Ryan Taylor and Dan Gosling are all still injured.

Chelsea will be without Eden Hazard, who serves his final game of a three-match ban for his farcical sending off against Swansea in the Capital One Cup semi-final, while Victor Moses and John Obi-Mikel are away with Nigeria.

There are doubts over the fitness of David Luiz and Petr Cech, the latter of the pair having missed the midweek draw with Reading. Juan Mata – who scored Chelsea’s opener in that game – is a doubt with an ankle injury but could be fit enough to play some part.

The home side will be looking to record their first win over Chelsea since 2005/06, when Titus Bramble scored the winner in a 1-0 win. Make of that stat what you will!