AFTER a weekend of dismal injury news, Newcastle United are hoping for the lift of seeing Cheick Tiote on the Darsley Park training pitches this morning.
There have been numerous false dawns since the Ivorian midfielder injured his knee in the run-up to October’s League Cup tie at Blackburn Rovers and with that in mind, the Magpies are reluctant to build up hopes again. But if Tioté were to take part in practice today, there could be a chance of him facing Norwich City at the weekend.
His return would be particularly well timed with a makeshift central defensive pairing to protect.
Steven Taylor underwent surgery on his Achilles yesterday, and may not play again this season. Newcastle are continuing to monitor Fabricio Coloccini, who had a scan on his groin yesterday. It would be a major surprise were the captain to maintain his ever-present record by lining up against the Canaries, although he has defied the odds once already this season, putting in an heroic performance at Manchester United the day after suffering back spasms in training.
To have lost one centre-back for the difficult trip to Carrow Road is unfortunate, to be without both would be bordering on a crisis for Newcastle.
Having tried and failed to sign Birmingham City’s Liam Ridgewell on August’s deadline day, the Magpies have only three senior central defenders and the other, Mike Williamson, is also injured.
The 28-year-old is making slow progress after ankle ligament damage suffered in August. Although manager Alan Pardew spoke yesterday about “accelerating” his recovery, Williamson is still only doing what the club describe as “very light” training, and will not join the rest of the group this week.