ALAN Pardew will make an 11th-hour decision on his starting XI for tomorrow’s game against Tottenham Hotspur.
Pardew is sweating on the fitness of a clutch of key players ahead of the club’s season-opener.
Yohan Cabaye, Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba are all rated as doubtful and Hatem Ben Arfa is unlikely to be involved because of a knee problem.
Pardew is also waiting to assess Fabricio Coloccini, who suffered a slight injury before reporting for international duty with Argentina.
However, Cheik Tiote – who suffered a calf problem in last weekend’s friendly against Cardiff City – is expected to be fit.
And Pardew, reluctant to take any risks with players given the games coming up, will “sleep on” his team selection tonight.
“I’ll sleep on it. I haven’t got a team in my mind yet,” Pardew said.
“We haven’t had any team play yet because Colo was away yesterday. We all know our roles, but I haven’t picked the team.”
The game is followed by the first-leg of Newcastle’s Europa League qualifier against Atromitos on Thursday.
And Pardew – who said the Premier League was his overriding priority in yesterday’s pre-match Press conference – is keeping an open mind as to his starting XI in Athens, with the fixture followed by a visit to Chelsea less than 48 hours later.
“We’ll play Tottenham and then we’ll take stock of Greece,” he added.
“We need to be right for Chelsea. We’ve already scheduled a meeting on the different scenarios and how we’ll approach it.
“There are different scenarios for different results.”