Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has revealed that his relationship with striker Demba Ba is fine following an apology from the player's camp.
There had been suggestions from his agent that Ba was at odds with Pardew and might seek a move away from the club after being left out of the Magpies' starting XI. The Senegal international was named among the substitutes when Newcastle played Everton last Monday, but he was called into action and scored both his team's goals in a 2-2 draw.
Subsequently Ba's agent said the forward "could not understand the management" and might have to consider other options if he was not reinstated in the team. But Pardew has told reporters that he and Ba have cleared the air and that there is no problem between them.
"We are intelligent about the way we do things here," Pardew said. "I know words have been said by Demba's camp, but we've had an apology for that. He hadn't been playing well, but he came on at Everton and showed what a great player he is."
Pardew is fully focused on Sunday's visit of Norwich City in a fixture that will see Chris Hughton return to Tyneside for the first time since he was sacked by the Magpies in December, 2010.
The current Newcastle boss is targeting three points as he looks to consolidate his team's solid start to the season - but he has warned that taking on the Canaries will not be an easy challenge.
"Chris did a fabulous job here and will be well received," Pardew told Newcastle's official website. "[Norwich] have got some great pros and we will have to take care of their good players - guys like [Anthony] Pilkington and [Grant] Holt. The organization of Norwich is very strong and I think they will do okay this year. But we are at home and we need to win."
Hughton was appointed as Norwich manager in June following the departure of Paul Lambert, who moved to Aston Villa a few days earlier. Norwich's attacking style of play under Hughton has been rewarded with a point against Tottenham at White Hart Lane - and has not been ignored by Pardew.
"Chris has been quite brave and played two strikers in most of their games, unlike a lot of the Premier League sides," Pardew said. "I think he will get his reward for that, but hopefully not against us."