Tiote available to drive Newcastle forward
Cheik Tiote is expected to start alongside Yohan Cabaye in the heart of Newcastle United’s midfield against Metalist Kharkiv – despite his arrest on suspicion of fraud in relation to driving offences on Tuesday.
The Ivorian, recently returned from the Africa Cup of Nations, was stopped by police near Newcastle’s training ground and had his car, a £75,000 customised Chevrolet Camaro, seized.
Tiote was later released without charge but Northumbria police have said inquiries are ongoing into a matter Newcastle regard as “private”.
Ukrainian side Metalist Kharkiv arrived in the north-east of England on Friday, established a training base near Darlington and drew a friendly 1-1 with non-league Whitley Bay on Sunday.
After last playing competitively in early December – the winter break lasts three months in Ukraine – Metalist may well be a little rusty.
Newcastle are without Mathieu Debuchy and Yoan Gouffran, who are ineligible.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, the central defender acquired from Montpellier, will make his debut at the expense of either Steven Taylor or Fabricio Coloccini.