ALAN Pardew’s plans for Newcastle United’s season opener have been hit by injury.
Cheik Tiote is almost certainly out of Sunday’s game against Manchester City - and new signing Siem de Jong is doubtful.
Tiote has a hamstring problem and has played just an hour of football in pre-season.
De Jong has a calf injury and has not played since July 26, when he was forced off against Wellington Phoenix in what was United’s second New Zealand tour game.
Newcastle beat Real Sociedad 1-0 at a rain-lashed St James’s Park in their absence yesterday.
And United manager Pardew fears neither player will be fit enough to face the Premier League champions on Tyneside.
“They’re both running at various stages,” said Pardew. “Siem’s a lot further down the path than Cheik.
“They’re both massive players. It would be idyllic if we could get them for Man City, but Cheik, for sure, I don’t think is going to make it. Siem’s got an outside chance of being involved.”
Pardew also has a concern over forward Yoan Gouffran, who needed treatment after being caught on the knee by Markel Bergara in the first half.
Gouffran didn’t reappear for the second half, and the problem is being assessed ahead of the weekend.
“Fingers crossed, Gouff’s OK,” said Pardew. “If he is, then we’ve come through unscathed, which is more important than the result.”
United overcame Sociedad thanks to a goal from midfielder Moussa Sissoko three minutes from time.
“It’s always good to win,” said Pardew, who handed home debuts to summer signings Daryl Janmaat, Remy Cabella, Jack Colback, Emmanuel Riviere, Ayoze Perez and Facundo Ferreyra.
“We pushed second half. We were a bit nervous first half, but we sorted it out half time and wouldn’t let them play.
“Everyone contributed. We had some nice moments from our new players. We’ve got a different look to us.”
Pardew, at owner Mike Ashley’s request, has not answered any questions from the written Press after games this pre-season.
It’s a shame, as supporters want, and more importantly deserve, answers to a number of questions that won’t go away.
Ashley, not surprisingly, wasn’t at a sodden St James’s Park to see Sissoko give Newcastle a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad with an 87th-minute goal.
You would think that Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley - who has overseen the recruitment of nine players this summer - would be keen to get their message across to fans.
After all, the negativity which clouded the latter months of last season has been replaced by some positivity after significant, if belated, investment in the squad.
Certainly, the 19,188 fans who paid up to £15 to watch the Sociedad game should have heard United’s manager speak about the match, though, in all honesty, had a journalist interviewed him it wouldn’t have been a long or interesting conversation.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Janmaat (Armstrong, 84), Williamson (S Taylor, 67), Coloccini (Yanga-Mbiwa, 67), Haidara (Dummett, 59); Sissoko, Anita (Abeid, 67), Colback (Obertan, 59), Gouffran (Aarons, 46); Cabella (Ferreyra, 74); Riviere (Perez, 67). Sub not used: Alnwick.
REAL SOCIEDAD: Rulli; C Martinez, Gonzalez, I Martinez, Berchiche; Granero, Bergara, Canales; Agirretxe, Prieto, Castro. Goal: Sissoko 87
Att: 19,188 Ref: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)