LEE CLARK knows all about the influence of French footballers at Newcastle.

And Huddersfield Town’s boss, who played alongside star man David Ginola at St James’ Park, says that if the club’s current Gallic quartet can come to the fore, there could be exciting times ahead at his old stomping ground.

Alan Pardew has brought in midfielder Yohan Cabaye and winger Sylvain Marveaux from Rennes and Lille respectively and striker Demba Ba from West Ham to play alongside existing wide man Hatem Ben Arfa.

And Geordie Clark, who had two spells as a Toon player before cutting his coaching teeth at the club, said: "With Steve Bruce bringing in players at Sunderland, the two North-East teams have been among the busiest in the Premier League this summer.

"People ask me who was the best player I played next to and I always says it’s between Peter Beardsley, who was so consistent, and David Ginola, who at times was unplayable for opponents.

"If the French lads at the club now can do what he did, then there are exciting times ahead at St James’.

"The new arrivals have got top pedigrees, and while Alan (Pardew) has said that’s it’s not just about being a big player at Newcastle, because you have to be a big character to cope with all the facets of playing for the club, I’m sure he’ll have done his homework in that area."

Clark continued: "Of course what everyone is looking for is that striker to fill Andy Carroll’s shoes, and I’m sure Alan will be looking to do more business still.

"The Newcastle fans love their strikers, and they will be waiting with anticipation to see what happens.

"Hopefully Alan can continue what he started last season, and progress would be a top-10 finish and perhaps getting a European spot."

Newcastle, who visited Town for a memorable pre-season friendly two years ago, kick-off this year’s schedule at Darlington on Friday.

A trip to the United States will take in three games, against Sporting Kansas City, Orlando City and Columbus Crew, before Toon head to Leeds on Saturday, July 31.

A home clash with Fiorentina seven days later precedes the Premier League opener against Arsenal at