CHEIK Tiote will be back at Newcastle United refreshed for the challenges ahead at the Sports Direct Arena – after being given a break by manager Alan Pardew.
Tiote and his Ivory Coast team-mates suffered the agony of a penalty shoot-out defeat in the African Cup of Nations final against Zambia last weekend.
And Pardew decided the midfielder could do with a short break as he recovers from a gruelling few weeks.
Tiote will be return to training on Monday ahead of the visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers on February 25, when Pardew will also have Yohan Cabaye and Ryan Taylor back from suspension and injury respectively.
“It’s about the next game now, and we’ve got Cheik coming back, and Yohan available again – that’s a boost for everybody,” Pardew said.
The Ivory Coast and Zambia couldn’t be seperated in extra and normal time in Librevilla, Gabon on Sunday.
Tiote scored his penalty, but Arsenal’s Gervinho was among the players who failed to convert their spot kicks.
However, Pardew’s confident Tiote will have put his disappointment behind him by the time he returns to Tyneside ahead of an important run of Premier League games.
“We’ve given Cheik some time off. He’s had a daunting run of games and he’ll be back on Monday,” added Pardew.
“I’ve spoken to Cheik, and he’s OK. He did a really good job out there, but unfortunately they got beat in a penalty shoot-out.
“They came out with a lot of credit. Cheik will have another chance in the African Cup of Nations in 12 months time, and he’ll be focused on Newcastle United now.
“He’ll be ready to go again next week after a rest. He’ll be focused on helping his team.”
Tiote left for the African Cup of Nations after helping Newcastle to a 3-0 win over Manchester United, with the club in seventh place.
Pardew’s team, beaten 5-0 at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, are now sixth, still just a point off the Champions League places with 13 games left to play this season.
“We’re in a better (league) position than when he left,” said Pardew. “Who would have thought that we’d lose Cheik and Demba (Ba), and when they returned we’d be in a better position?”