Alan Pardew sweats on midfield duo

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MIDFIELD lynchpins Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tiote are doubts for Newcastle United’s visit to Manchester City.

Cabaye limped out of Saturday’s win over Everton with a groin injury.

The midfielder has linked up with France, but manager Alan Pardew doesn’t expect him to be involved in their two friendlies.

And Tiote – who has missed Newcastle’s last three games – is still struggling with a knee problem, and was withdrawn from the Ivory Coast squad.

To cap matters, Leon Best has toe and groin problems, and is a doubt for the Republic of Ireland’s two-legged Euro 2012 play-off against Estonia, for which he was a late call-up.

Sylvain Marveaux also suffered a groin problem against Everton on what was his full Premier League debut.

“Cabaye’s got a groin injury, as has Marveaux. Best’s got a groin and toe,” Pardew said. “I’d be very surprised if Cabaye could play for France, very.”

Asked if they will be fit for Newcastle’s visit to the Etihad Stadium, he added: “I hope so, but you just don’t know how serious they are at the moment. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Cabaye and Best will be assessed by their respective country’s medical staff before a decision is made on their involvement.

Meanwhile, Tiote is yet to return to training, and Pardew said: “Cheik wasn’t close – he needs another good week.”

Ryan Taylor’s stunning 29th-minute volley sealed the win as the Magpies extended their unbeaten start to 11 games, although Everton left St James’s Park knowing they probably deserved to be doing so with something to show for their efforts having given as good as they got.

The game was 12 minutes old when Danny Simpson’s cross was turned into his own goal by John Heitinga.

But in an even encounter, the visitors had opportunities to get themselves back on level terms with Jack Rodwell forcing a 23rd-minute save from Tim Krul, who clutched Leon Osman’s shot to his midriff seconds later, while former Magpie Louis Saha shot wastefully wide with 25 minutes gone.

However, Newcastle extended their lead in spectacular style four minutes later.

Rodwell’s clearing header fell to Ryan Taylor wide on the left and he teed the ball up before thumping a dipping volley over Tim Howard an in off the underside of the crossbar.

With Royston Drenthe impressive in a roaming role behind Saha, Everton tried to work their way back into the game and might have reduced the deficit with 13 minutes remaining, only for Saha’s skidding shot to come back off the foot of the post.

Ryan Taylor bounced a 34th-minute cross off Howard’s crossbar as played switched rapidly from end to end, but the Magpies were left kicking themselves when the visitors grabbed a lifeline in injury time with Rodwell heading firmly home from Drenthe’s near-post corner.

The sides returned knowing the next goal could prove vital, and both might have claimed it in an eventful start to the half.

Saha’s appeals for a penalty after his shot was deflected wide – replays suggested it may have done so off substitute Gosling’s arm – went unanswered at one end, and Sammy Ameobi, on for the injured Marveaux, scuffed a shot across the face of goal after breaking from halfway.

Substitute Tim Cahill forced Krul to dive to his left to save on the hour and Ameobi skied a left-foot volley high over seconds later.

But Newcastle were having to defend deep and in numbers, and it was significant that Ba and then Best were the men to head clear inside their own penalty area from Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman in quick succession in the 63rd minute.

Everton threw everything they had at the Magpies as the clock ran down with the home side retreating towards Krul at an alarming rate.

However, they were unable to make the breakthrough and left Tyneside empty-handed.

Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, S Taylor, R Taylor, Marveaux (Sammy Ameobi 54), Cabaye (Gosling 37), Guthrie, Gutierrez, Best (Ben Arfa 73), Ba. Subs not used: Elliot, Santon, Lovenkrands, Perch. Booked: Guthrie, Ryan Taylor. Goals: Heitinga 12 og, R Taylor 29.

Everton: Howard, Hibbert (McFadden 81), Heitinga (Cahill 56), Jagielka, Baines, Coleman, Neville (Distin 41), Rodwell, Drenthe, Osman, Saha. Subs not used: Mucha, Bilyaletdinov, Stracqualursi, Barkley. Booked: Heitinga, Baines, Drenthe. Goal: Rodwell 45.

Att: 50, 671 Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).

H Former Everton defender Dave Watson has been appointed as Newcastle’s U18s coach.

Watson succeeds Frankie Bunn, who left the club in June to join Rochdale as Number Two to Steve Eyre.