Newcastle United fight to keep Cheick Tiote for FA Cup clash

NEWCASTLE United are still negotiating for Cheick Tioté to play in Saturday’s FA Cup third-round tie with Blackburn Rovers.

Cheick Tiote

NEWCASTLE United are still negotiating for Cheick Tioté to play in Saturday’s FA Cup third-round tie with Blackburn Rovers.

Fifa rules state countries can demand their players 14 days before the African Cup of Nations.

As the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea starts on January 21, Newcastle would be powerless to stop Ivorian Tioté and Senegalese Demba Ba being taken from them.

However, with various Premier League clubs haggling over when their stars will be released, Alan Pardew is seeking clarification from the Football Association about which country will call its players up when.

He said: “There is some debate about it. We have Blackburn on Saturday and we are in contact to suggest what has been decided with every other club because it has to be fair.

“We only have a two-day turnaround which I feel disappointed about but that is how it has crumbled with the TV game (against Manchester United tonight).

“So losing those two players on the back of that would impact on us again.

“We are trying to make sure they are going to play in that (FA Cup) game but we will have to wait and see.” Manchester City are hopeful of having Tioté’s international team-mates the Touré brothers available for Sunday’s Cup tie with Manchester United.

And they are lobbying to keep them for the midweek League Cup semi-final first leg with Liverpool.

It is to the English FA, rather than their Ivorian counterparts, Newcastle are turning.

Pardew, who is less confident on top-scorer Ba, added: “We want to know what has been decided with other clubs, who is eligible to play and are all African Nations’ players going to go – on Saturday morning, or Friday, or Sunday. When is it they have to officially report? We are seeking clarification.”

Ba has a history of knee trouble, while Tioté recently missed seven games with a knee problem.

Pardew said: “We are going to try to monitor Cheick and Demba a little bit as best we can while they are away.

“We are trying to contact their FAs to find out exactly what they are doing and what they are not doing. ”

Asked if Newcastle would consider sending someone to monitor the situation first-hand, Pardew replied: “It is something we have done in the past, we might do that, yeah.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer