BELEAGUERED Newcastle United have suffered another injury blow – with Cheick Tiote doubtful for Saturday’s visit to Stamford Bridge.
Newcastle take on title hopefuls Chelsea looking to draw a line under the 3-0 Tyne-Wear derby defeat to Sunderland last weekend.
But stand-in captain Tiote suffered an injury in training early this week, and the midfielder’s problem is being assessed ahead of the testing clash against a Blues side on a high following Monday’s impressive victory at title rivals Manchester City.
Manager Alan Pardew is already without leading scorer Loic Remy, who will serve the second game of a three-match ban for his dismissal at Norwich City last month.
And skipper Fabricio Coloccini, sidelined since New Year’s Day with a knee problem, is unlikely to be fit to face Jose Mourinho’s side, though forward Yoan Gouffran is expected to return from injury. Winger Gabriel Obertan is also fit and available after a recent lay-off.
Tiote – who has captained Newcastle in the absence of Coloccini – limped out of a training session on Tuesday.
His absence would be a blow to Pardew, who lost Tiote’s midfield partner Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain last week.
Pardew has lost the spine of his team in recent weeks for various reasons, and the departure of Cabaye, such an influence in the first half of the season, will be keenly felt between now and the end of the season.
If Tiote is unavailable to tackle Chelsea, Pardew could call on midfielder Dan Gosling, who had a loan spell at Blackpool earlier this season.