BELEAGUERED Newcastle United have suffered another injury blow – with Cheik Tiote doubtful for the club’s visit to Stamford Bridge.
United take on Chelsea on Saturday looking to draw a line under the club’s Tyne-Wear derby defeat last weekend.
But stand-in captain Tiote suffered an injury in training early this week.
The midfielder’s problem is being assessed ahead Newcastle’s visit to west London.
United manager Alan Pardew is already without leading scorer Loic Remy, who will serve the second game of a three-match ban for his dismissal against Norwich City last month.
And skipper Fabricio Coloccini, sidelined since New Year’s Day with a knee problem, is unlikely to be fit to face Jose Mourinho’s side, though forward Yoan Gouffran is expected to return from injury.
Winger Gabriel Obertan is also fit and available after a recent lay-off.
Tiote – who has captained Newcastle in the absence of Coloccini – limped out of a training session on Tuesday.
And his absence would be a blow to Pardew, who lost Tiote’s midfield partner Yohan Cabaye in late last month’s transfer window.
Pardew has lost the spine of his team in recent weeks for various reasons, and the departure of Cabaye, such an influence in the first half of the season, will be keenly felt between now and the end of the season.
If Tiote is unavailable, Pardew could call on midfielder Dan Gosling, who had a loan spell at Blackpool earlier this season.