Newcastle United midfielders Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa are major doubts for the club's Premier League season opener against Tottenham, manager Alan Pardew has confirmed.
The Magpies are facing a selection crisis with star strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse also carrying injuries, with key players Cheick Tiote and Fabricio Coloccini having to limp off during their preseason defeat against Cardiff City on Saturday.
Pardew is optimistic about the fitness of some of his players, but feels that he may be forced to select a weaker team ahead of a difficult opener against Andre Villas-Boas’ men.
Pardew told The Chronicle: “Nobody was rested on Saturday. Ben Arfa has a slight knee problem which definitely keeps him out of the first week. Yohan Cabaye is not right in terms of work he has done. We are hoping to get him up to speed and get him involved on Saturday. Papiss has got a slight hamstring we think he will recover by Tuesday or Wednesday. Demba has a shin injury which he has carried for a week or so. So we took him out of the game on Tuesday.”
Newcastle will have to make a late decision on whether Tiote will join up with the Ivory Coast this week for a friendly in Moscow against Fabio Capello’s Russia. The club is also monitoring the fitness of captain Coloccini after he survived an injury scare of his own.
“Cheick [Tiote] has a calf problem. We will have to see. I don’t think he will travel,” Pardew added. “Colo [Coloccini] looked like he was struggling after 20 minutes which worries me. Colo did not want to come off, being captain.”
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