Newcastle Utd sweat on fitness of duo ahead of Norwich clash

Newcastle's Cheick Tiote in action with West Bromwich Albion's Chris Brunt (left) during the Barclays Premier League match at the Sports Direct Arena, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday December 21, 2011. See PA Story SOCCER Newcastle. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.

Newcastle's Cheick Tiote in action with West Bromwich Albion's Chris Brunt (left) during the Barclays Premier League match at the Sports Direct Arena, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday December 21, 2011. See PA Story SOCCER Newcastle. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.

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NEWCASTLE United are sweating on the fitness of Cheik Tiote and Ryan Taylor ahead of Sunday’s game against Norwich City.

Tiote was forced off holding his thigh in Monday night’s 2-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

United manager Alan Pardew was hopeful Tiote was suffering from nothing more than cramp.

Pardew said after the game: “We’re just hoping it was a bit of cramp.”

The midfielder was being assessed this week ahead of the visit of Paul Lambert’s side to St James’s Park along with Taylor, who missed the game against Arsenal with a sore calf.

Taylor would have been in contention to start at the Emirates Stadium, where left-back Davide Santon - who was tasked with stopping Theo Walcott - was withdrawn at the break and replaced by James Perch.

And the 27-year-old’s return from injury would be welcome, such has been his influence in defence and attack this season.

Tiote, meanwhile, looked uncomfortable when he was replaced late in the game, and Pardew - whose side are focused on qualifying for the Europa League - will be desperate to have him available for Norwich.

Sixth-placed Newcastle are without a win in four Premier League games, and Liverpool closed the gap on them to two points with Tuesday night’s 3-0 win over Everton in the Merseyside derby.