CHEIK Tiote has vowed to find form and fitness as Newcastle United battle relegation.
Tiote – who returned from injury in Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby defeat – has had a stop-start season, and the injury-hit midfielder has struggled to rediscover the form of his first two seasons at St James’s Park.
The 26-year-old knows if 13th-placed Newcastle are to stay in the Premier League, he needs to be at his best in the final five games of the season, with West Brom next up at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
“I will do my best to stay fit until the end of the season,” Tiote said.
“We have so many important games coming up. The manager needs every player fit. He needs every player to fight in the last five games.”
There has been a backlash from angry fans in the wake of Newcastle’s 3-0 defeat to Sunderland, with supporters expecting a strong reaction against Albion.
“It’s important for the players to do everything now – and next season – to turn it around,” he added.
“We must use this as motivation – we don’t want to feel like this again.”
Tiote missed four games with the hamstring injury he suffered in training last month, and the Ivory Coast international, along with Mathieu Debuchy and Hatem Ben Arfa, has been doing extra work at the training ground this week to get up to speed.
Keeper Rob Elliot is set to shrug off an ankle problem – sustained during his substitute appearance against Sunderland – to face Albion. Veteran Steve Harper had been put on standby, however Elliot is back in training.
Meanwhile, first-choice goalie Tim Krul will have an operation on his dislocated shoulder on Monday and is expected back in training in late July.
Utility man Ryan Taylor – who had been close to returning after eight months out – has been ruled out for most of next season after suffering another cruciate ligament injury.
Boss Alan Pardew said: “Ryan has worked so hard and diligently since his injury. He has been a model patient, and has given his all to ensure he could return to full training in the best condition possible.
“Clearly, everyone at the club is deeply saddened by this news.”
H Newcastle’s Under-21s will take on former Magpie coach Richard Money’s Cambridge United in a friendly at the Abbey Stadium on Tuesday (7.30pm) – part of the Conference club’s centenary celebrations.