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The Argentine centre-half is facing a battle to be fit in time for Saturday's clash with Swansea, meaning the 23-year-old could be in line for a first Magpies start

Newcastle attacker Yoan Gouffran is confident that Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa can fill the void left by Fabricio Coloccini should the Argentine fail to start against Swansea.

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Coloccini remains a doubt for Saturday's clash at the Liberty Stadium having picked up a back injury during last weekend's win over Southampton at St James' Park.

But Gouffran, who arrived on Tyneside along with his compatriot in January, has insisted Yanga-Mbiwa is ready to be handed his first start for the club.

“We can rest assured we have real quality in Mapou," he told the Chronicle.

“Of course, there are a lot of other good defenders like Coloccini and Steven Taylor already here. Mapou is a fantastic addition to the squad."

The 26-year-old also underlined the former Montpellier centre-back's vast experience, despite his tender years.

“Let’s not forget that he was captain at Montpellier and he has played for France as well at the very top level. He is a good player and a great defender," he added.

“He's young but is already an international. It’s easy to forget that he's only 23. He will bring a lot of stability to the defence at Newcastle.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle announced on Thursday that young winger Shane Ferguson has joined Birmingham City on an emergency loan until April 1.

The 21-year-old had featured 14 times for the Magpies so far this season, but had not made an appearance since December.

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