MASSADIO Haidara is on standby to face Manchester City – and their flying winger Jesus Navas.
Newcastle United left-back Davide Santon is a doubt for tomorrow’s game at St James’s Park.
Santon has a minor problem, and didn’t train with the rest of his team-mates yesterday.
And United manager Alan Pardew is ready to hand 20-year-old Haidara – who played in last weekend’s FA Cup defeat to Cardiff City – his first Premier League start of the season should Santon fail a late fitness test.
Should Haidara play, he could face the pacy Navas, signed from Sevilla last summer.
“Sadio’s confidence is high if I do have to put him in,” Pardew said.
“But Santon has had a good season, and if he’s fit, he’ll have a good chance of starting.”
There was better news on midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who has returned to training after recovering from the Achilles problem that kept him out against Cardiff.
Goalkeeper Tim Krul, also sidelined for the FA Cup tie, will return to the starting XI after recovering from a shoulder problem.
However, Pardew will be without the suspended Mathieu Debuchy and the injured Fabricio Coloccini.
Coloccini faces up to six weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury, while Debuchy still has two games to serve of a three-match ban for his dismissal against West Bromwich Albion on New Year’s Day.
Meanwhile, City manager Manuel Pellegrini will again be without striker Serigo Aguero, though midfielder Yaya Toure is fit despite suffering an ankle problem in the club’s 6-0 Capital One Cup win over West Ham United.
Pellegrini said: “Yaya is OK. There was a little pain in his ankle but nothing important.”
Navas is in contention after being rested in midweek due to a minor knee problem.
Striker Stevan Jovetic and midfielder Jack Rodwell remain on the sidelines.