CHEIK Tiote is OUT of Newcastle United’s visit to Goodison Park - and Gael Bigirimana’s on standby to fill his boots.
The midfielder has failed in his battle to be fit to take on Everton on Monday night.
Tiote suffered a calf injury in the opening game of the season, and has been sidelined for the past four games.
United manager Alan Pardew had hoped to have the 26-year-old available to face in-form Everton.
However, Tiote won’t be risked, and the Ivory Coast international is now pencilled in for a comeback against Chris Hughton’s Norwich City to St James’s Park on September 23.
“He won’t play on Monday night,” Pardew told the Gazette. “But he’s a lot better, and he’s got a good chance for Norwich we think.”
Combative Tiote’s absence will again be keenly felt by Newcastle, who took four points from their opening three games and qualified for the group stage of the Europa League.
Pardew added: “You’re talking about one of the top Premier League players in my opinion.
“In my view, he’s one of the top 10 Premier League midfielders, and it’s a big hole for us.
“But we have a lot of good players still haven’t been seen at this football club yet.”
Teenager Bigirimana, signed from Coventry City in the summer, impressed in the centre of midfield alongside Tiote’s midfield partner Yohan Cabaye in the 1-1 draw against Aston Villa earlier this month.
Bigirimana came off the bench after Danny Simpson suffered a hamstring injury and Vurnon Anita dropped back into defence.
And Pardew was heartened by the 18-year-old’s gutsy performance on what was his Premier League debut.
Asked if he was too early for Bigirimana to start a league game, Pardew said: “I wouldn’t say it’s too early for him.
“I think he proved that against Aston Villa - he made the difference for us.
“He put himself in contention for Monday night.”