Outstanding Newcastle captain Coloccini hailed for derby heroics

FLASHPOINT ... Fabricio Coloccini makes his point after Cheik Tiote was dismissed.
FLASHPOINT ... Fabricio Coloccini makes his point after Cheik Tiote was dismissed.

FABRICIO Coloccini will be fit to face Club Brugge and West Bromwich Albion – despite being forced off at the Stadium of Light.

Newcastle United’s captain was outstanding on his return from injury in yesterday’s Wear-Tyne derby.

Alan Pardew’s side were leading Sunderland 1-0 thanks to Yohan Cabaye’s early goal when Coloccini left the field.

Match report: Sunderland 1 Newcastle United 1

The 30-year-old defender was forced off in the 79th minute.

However, Pardew has confirmed the Argentina international – who had been sidelined for several weeks with a hamstring problem – was suffering nothing more than cramp.

And Coloccini will be available for Thursday night’s Europa League game against Brugge, and Sunday’s home match against West Bromwich Albion.

“He had cramp in both calves,” Pardew told the Gazette.

“It was hard. It was a Premier League game, and we were down to 10 men on his first game back. He couldn’t have had it any worse, really, physically.”

Coloccini and his team-mates were put on the back foot after Cheik Tiote’s 25th-minute dismissal.

Time and again, Coloccini – who was replaced by fit-again Steven Taylor – was there to make timely interceptions, blocks and headers.

And Pardew put tribute to his contribution after the final whistle.

“It was one of the great performances, and it’s ironic that he wasn’t on the pitch when they scored,” he said.

“Maybe they wouldn’t have done.

“I’m not trying to be harsh with Steven, as that’s unfair. He was in such a commanding mood. He was brilliant.”

Twitter: @milesstarforth