With the announcement of the Newcastle provisional squad today for the Chelsea game on Sunday afternoon, it’s clear that manager Alan Pardew will not risk Cheick Tiote.
Cheick Tiote – in his Ivory Coast colors
With Tiote now on 14 yellow cards for the season and the Ivory Coast International has picked up a yellow card in each of his last 5 games.
The likelihood was therefore very high he would pick one up another one in the final two games and that would mean a 3 game suspension, and it would have been a little stupid to have played him in either of the last two games and risk that suspension, which would carry over to next season.
It’s even more obvious now that Newcastle are safe from relegation and will remain in a reasonable position in the league, even if they don’t gain another point.
Steve Harper is also missing from the squad after he had another minor injury on his knee this week, and is also out for the season – let’s hope that Tim Krul doesn’t get injured on Sunday.
Also out is captain Kevin Nolan, who had an ankle operation and is out for the season, and he joins Mike Williamson (broken arm), Hatem Ben Arfa (double leg fracture), Stephen Ireland (returned to Aston Villa because of ankle injury), Leon Best (ankle), Danny Guthrie (shin) and Dan Gosling (knee) .
Alan Pardew really needs to cut out that combat training (just kidding), since most of those injuries were picked up on the training field, and we are holding our breath about what could happen with injuries next season.
The provisional squad includes a number of Newcastle teenagers including Haris Vuckic, James Tavernier, Kazenga LuaLua, Greg McDermott, Ryan Donaldson and Sammy Ameobi, who is Shola’s younger brother.
Kevin Nolan (ankle) and Steve Harper (knee) are both out after surgery this week and join on the sidelines. Youngsters Sammy Ameobi – the younger brother of Shola – Kazenga LuaLua and Greg McDermott are included in the squad.
Newcastle will need to replace both Tiote and Nolan in central midfield, and we’d expect Joey Barton to get a start there, with possibly Ryan Taylor coming in on the right wing, although LuaLua could possibly get a start there too.
Who will play defensive midfield we don’t know as Alan Smith doesn’t seem to have been included in the squad, but maybe 18 year-old Slovenian U21 International Haris Vuckic will get a run-out on Sunday in central midfield.
Haris had an excellent game at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season that Alan Pardew witnessed, and he’s just returned from a long term injury.
Krul, Soderberg, Simpson, Ferguson, Enrique, Coloccini, S. Taylor, R. Taylor, Barton, Gutierrez, Vuckic, Tavernier, Richardson, Lovenkrands, Shola Ameobi, Ranger, Kuqi, LuaLua, McDermott, Donaldson, Sammy Ameobi.