MO DIAME was always confident Ki Sung-yueng would make a major contribution to Newcastle United’s season, and is tipping the South Korean to produce another impressive display if he is selected in the starting line-up for Saturday’s home game with Bournemouth.

Ki replaced Jonjo Shelvey in the 51st minute of Newcastle’s weekend game with Watford, and impressed as his measured passing and slick midfield play helped the Magpies record their first win of the season.

The 29-year-old joined Newcastle from Swansea City in the summer, but had been struggling to even make the match-day squad prior to his weekend return to the first team.

He could find himself making what would be a third league start when Bournemouth visit Tyneside in three days’ time, with Shelvey having had a series of scans to ascertain the extent of the muscular damage he sustained in the Watford win.

Diame has enjoyed playing alongside Shelvey for the majority of the season, but was never worried about Ki’s ability to slot in instead. And with Saturday’s game offering an opportunity to claim back-to-back home wins, the Senegalese midfielder is unconcerned at the prospect of Shelvey being missing again.

“He’s a quality player,” said Diame, who has been an ever-present in the league this season. “Since I’ve been in the UK, I’ve seen him play before at Swansea and Sunderland, so I know how good he is.

“It’s easy to play with a quality player like him. He has a lot of composure, he plays good passes, and he is good for the team.

“Hopefully, we can get another good result against Bournemouth - whether Ki or Jonjo plays - because everybody deserves it, from the players, to the fans, to everyone who works here. We deserve another win for the effort we put in.”

Saturday’s win alleviated some of the pressure that had built after Newcastle failed to win any of their opening ten league games.

Monday’s result, which saw Huddersfield Town beat Fulham, ensured the Magpies stayed out of the bottom three, with Saturday’s visit of Bournemouth providing a chance to pull even further away from the relegation zone.

It has been a fraught start to the season, both on and off the pitch, but Diame claims Newcastle’s players were always confident their fortunes would turn.

“Of course I’ve been confident,” he said. “Football is about confidence, and when you lose a lot of games like we were, then the confidence goes down, so it’s not been easy.

“You need character, desire, and people who take responsibility on the pitch. Against Watford we showed that. It was a good game for both teams, but the luck was on our side and we were happy to get the three points.

“Now, we can look forward to playing against Bournemouth at St James' Park and we will try to do the same thing.”

Bournemouth have been one of the surprise packages of the season so far, but their momentum was checked last weekend as they lost to Manchester United despite having taken an early lead.

They boast a potent counter-attacking threat with the likes of Callum Wilson, Josh King and David Brooks in their ranks, but having been buoyed by last weekend’s result, Diame claims Newcastle will head into Saturday’s game in an upbeat mood.

“It was good to grow our confidence higher before another home match against an in-form team in Bournemouth,” he said. “They lost to Man United, but we know they are a very good side. They lost to a top team, and they will come to St James' Park with self-belief, thinking they can get the positive result.

“It will be another tough game, but we need to put in another big performance and show the right attitude to make sure we win this game.

“We had picked up some points away (before last weekend), but none at home before Watford - so it was crucial to finally end that run.

“Everyone in the squad knows that it is at St James' Park where we need to pick up the most points, so, of course it is going to be tough but we need to go for the three points again and make winning at home a habit again.”