Timely Tiote boost for Newcastle United

FIGHTING FIT ... Cheik Tiote.

FIGHTING FIT ... Cheik Tiote.

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CHEIK Tiote has proved his fitness ahead of Newcastle United’s weekend visit to Southampton.

The midfielder, yet to play for his club this season, managed his second game in four days yesterday as Ivory Coast crashed 4-1 to Cameroon in an African Cup of Nations qualifier.

The 28-year-old is due back on Tyneside in the next 24 hours ahead of Saturday’s trip to St Mary’s.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew – who hopes to have Jack Colback (calf) available – faces two potentially pivotal games without forward Siem de Jong, who is facing up to four months out with a thigh injury.

Pardew – acutely aware of the darkening mood among fans on Tyneside – will face the media today ahead ot the Southampton game.

The fixture is followed by a home game against Steve Bruce’s Hull City on September 20 that Newcastle – and especially Pardew – cannot afford to lose.

The 53-year-old has come under renewed fire in the wake of the Magpies’ failure to strengthen before the transfer window closed, and the decision to loan out Hatem Ben Arfa and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.

H Defender Jamie Sterry has made his comeback from a long-term ankle injury, playing 45 minutes for Newcastle’s U21s in a 2-1 closed-doors win over Gateshead, with Tom Heardman scoring twice.

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