Steve McClaren to give late fitness tests to two Newcastle players

Jack Colback
Jack Colback

Massadio Haidara and Jack Colback will be given until the 11th hour to prove their fitness.

The Newcastle United pair are doubtful for this evening’s home game against Chelsea.

He (Cisse) and Cheick are close, and we hope by Monday they will be back in full training with the squad.

Steve McClaren

Defender Haidara (knee) and midfielder Colback (calf) missed the midweek Capital One Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.

Head coach Steve McClaren will definitely be without striker Papiss Demba Cisse and midfielder Cheick Tiote.

Cisse (back) and Tiote (knee) are pencilled in to return to training on Monday.

“He (Cisse) and Cheick are close, and we hope by Monday they will be back in full training with the squad,” said McClaren.

Winger Rolando Aarons is also doubtful, while goalkeeper Karl Darlow (ankle) is facing an extended spell on the sidelines along with Steven Taylor (hamstring).

Darlow is still wearing a protective boot, and Rob Elliot will be on the bench against Chelsea.

McClaren said: “Aarons and Colback have little niggles. The serious ones are Darlow and Taylor.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle’s Aleksandar Mitrovic is set to start against Chelsea – but the striker has been told to “curb his enthusiasm”.

Mitrovic has served a three-game ban for his dismissal against Arsenal last month.

With Cisse sidelined, McClaren has suggested the summer signing will be in his starting XI at St James’s Park.

“It will be good to have Mitrovic back – we have missed him for three games,” said McClaren, whose second-from-bottom side are yet to win a Premier League this season.

“We didn’t have a striker at all on Wednesday. We are short in that area, but Mitrovic coming back ... he can be our focal point.

“We need that with the style that we are playing. We saw that at Old Trafford. We need to see it a little bit more.

“It’s a great opportunity, (we need to) just curb his enthusiasm. He is very keen to play. We welcome him back.”

Mitrovic was sent off for a reckless challenge on Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin.

The 21-year-old was also booked seconds into his United debut against Southampton.