Newcastle Utd duo could be fit for Man City clash

KEY MAN ... Cheik Tiote.
KEY MAN ... Cheik Tiote.

ALAN Pardew says Siem de Jong and Cheik Tiote could be fit for Newcastle United’s Premier League opener against Manchester City.

The duo face a race to play in Sunday’s clash at St James’s Park after sitting out the last few games of the Magpies’ pre-season programme.

Tiote has a hamstring injury, and is rated the bigger doubt of the two, while De Jong is suffering from a calf problem picked up on the New Zealand tour.

The pair took a light part in yesterday’s open training session at St James’s, however, and Pardew hasn’t given up hope of having them available this weekend.

“Your first home game, you’d like to win it but it makes it difficult when it’s the champions,” he said.

“But we’re in great shape for it, we couldn’t be in better shape for it from pre-season outside of Siem and Cheik, whether they’re going to be available.

“It would be disappointing if they’re not but they are running well and they could be available and make it an easy job for me to pick my strongest team.

“Whatever happens, this place will be full up and the expectation will be there again as it it always is.

“We hope to put on a show that will show the football world and in particular the Premier League that we’re going to be a force this season.”

Pardew has previously said he hopes his side can challenge for a European place this season, but tempered his ambitions slightly when asked yesterday what Newcastle can acheive.

He added: “The average for this club over the last 10 years in the Premiership is 48 points, and I think if we get that or anything above that it will be a good season for us.

“But at this point in the season, like all clubs, we dream of higher than that.”