YOHAN Cabaye has declared his double groin operation this week a "success".
The Newcastle United midfielder went under the knife at the start of this week, and is hoping to back in the side by early February.
He has missed five of Newcastle’s last seven games, none of which have been won. And, while they will have to do without their only genuinely creative midfielder for the entire Festive period, the early signs at least are good for him to return on schedule.
“Surgery went off smoothly,” Cabaye told French sports newspaper l’Equipe. “It was done in two steps as the surgeon told me – on Monday right side (of the abdominal wall) and Tuesday left side. Being back to competition early in February? That is the objective.”
Cabaye’s fitful form this season goes a long way towards explaining Newcastle’s. He exceeded expectations in his debut English campaign, and so did the Magpies.
But since returning from the European Championships, where he was a key member of the France team, he has failed to hit those heights again.
Nevertheless, Europa League group rivals Club Brugge are the only team the Magpies have beaten without Cabaye in the side this season.
Newcastle entertain Wigan Athletic in Monday’s televised game looking to end a run of four straight Premier League defeats – their worst run since being relegated from the division in 2008-09.
Their worst run that season was five straight defeats immediately preceding the ill-fated appointment of Joe Kinnear.
James Perch misses Monday’s game after picking up a suspension for five domestic cautions.