NEWCASTLE United’s Cheik Tiote is desperate to avoid another suspension.
But the midfielder insists he won’t shirk at a challenge at the Britannia Stadium tomorrow.
Tiote and captain Kevin Nolan are just one yellow card away from two-game bans, having both collected nine bookings.
The pair have already served suspensions this season, and the odds are on Tiote being cautioned again this season given his tough-tackling game.
However, Tiote and Nolan’s yellow cards will be wiped out after the Aston Villa game on April 10, and he and manager Alan Pardew – who is grappling with a number of injuries to key midfield players, and a suspension to Ryan Taylor – are hoping they can avoid a booking in the next three fixtures.
“My game is to tackle, and I know I have to get it right,” Tiote said. “I know I have to improve my disciplinary record, and not pick up silly bookings.
“But I’ll continue to play my game – I just have to be a little bit wiser with some tackles.”
And Pardew said: “You have to ask them to play their normal game and not hold back, but of course they’re aware of it. They’re very important players, and we can’t afford to lose them for two games.”
A goal from former Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones claimed a win for Stoke in the fixture between the two sides at St James’s Park earlier in the season.
While United have again stuttered at home – taking just a point from their double header against Everton and Bolton Wanderers – they are unbeaten in in their last two games away from Tyneside.
And 24-year-old Tiote doesn’t feel Newcastle should fear Stoke, despite their enviable record at the Britannia Stadium.