CHEIK Tiote is winning his battle to be fit for Newcastle’s Sunday visit to West Bromwich Albion, writes MILES STARFORTH.
Manager Alan Pardew is hopeful that the influential midfielder will recover from a thigh injury in time to face Roy Hodgson’s side.
But fit-again Nile Ranger – who made his comeback from an ankle problem this week – will not be involved in the televised clash at The Hawthorns.
And the striker – whose spell at Barnsley earlier in the season was cut short by injury – could yet leave the club before the Football League’s deadline for emergency loans expires later today.
Tiote suffered his injury in last week’s defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, and the 25-year-old was a frustrated spectator for Sunday’s 1-0 win over Norwich City at St James’s Park.
However, Tiote’s running again, and Pardew’s upbeat about his chances of facing West Brom.
“Tiote ran again in training,” said Pardew. “He has a good chance for Sunday for what will be a tough game.”
Meanwhile, Pardew was at Whitley Park on Tuesday night to see Ranger play for Newcastle’s reserves against Chelsea, who won 4-2.
The 20-year-old had a hand in both United’s goals, but his career at St James’s Park, which has been beset by off-the-field issues, appears to be nearing its end.
After returning to training last week Ranger said his aim between now and the end of the campaign was to salvage his Newcastle career.
However, Pardew says Ranger – who was yesterday handed a conditional six-month discharge by Newcastle magistrates after admitting a drunk and disorderly charge from October – won’t be involved again this season. And that suggests the club is willing to loan him out for the rest of the campaign.
Asked about Ranger, Pardew said: “He won’t be involved this season.”
Formern Newcastle manager Chris Hughton, now in charge of Birmingham, was linked with a loan move for Ranger earlier in the season.