Mehdi Abeid will fill Cheik Tiote’s boots for Newcastle United

TOP PLAYER: Mehdi Abeid in action against Liverpool. Picture by FRANK REID
TOP PLAYER: Mehdi Abeid in action against Liverpool. Picture by FRANK REID

MEHDI Abeid is ready to step up in the absence of Cheik Tiote – and get Newcastle United back to winning ways.

Tiote is sidelined with a knee injury suffered at the African Cup of Nations.

And there are fears the midfielder, who struggled for form in the first half of the season, could miss the rest of the campaign.

Abeid, fit again after recovering from a broken toe, has come off the bench in the Magpies’ last three fixtures.

The midfielder, who ably deputised for Tiote earlier in the season, is now pushing for a return to the starting XI ahead of Saturday’s game against Premier League champions Manchester City.

Abeid helped United to a Capital One Cup victory at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season though John Carver’s injury-hit side are 12-1 outsiders to repeat that feat in the league.

“We have a good team and a lot of quality in the team – now we have to show it every week,” Abeid told SportMail.

“Hopefully, we will have many, many more wins in the future.”

Abeid is enjoying working under Carver, Alan Pardew’s successor, and he insists the 50-year-old, his staff and the players are all pulling together.

“It’s good to have John as the head coach,” said the Algerian international, who missed the African Cup of Nations because of his toe injury.

“There’s a good relationship between him, the coaches and the players. It’s great for the future of our team.”

Abeid is keen to put his African Cup of Nations disappointment behind him.

The technically-gifted player, signed from Lens in the summer of 2011, made an abortive comeback from injury in early December.

Abeid then spent another two months on the sidelines before making a return in the club’s win over Hull City late last month.

“I’m really glad to be back – it was a bad injury,” he said. “I’m enjoying my time on the pitch.”

l FREDDIE Woodman says Newcastle United’s FA Youth Cup heartache will spur him on as he bids to show he is a safe pair of hands.

Woodman was in the Under-18s side knocked out of the competition by cup-holders Chelsea, the Londoners winning 3-0 after extra-time in front of a remarkable crowd of 11,664 at St James’s Park on Monday.

“We all gave it a good go and we can take positives from the game,” said Woodman, who was briefly on loan at Pools earlier in the season. “It’ll help us in our careers.”