Newcastle suffering from Cheick Tiote absence admits Alan Pardew

 

Alan Pardew is hoping Cheick Tiote's impending return from injury will spark Newcastle into life.

The Ivory Coast international has been out of action since damaging a calf muscle on the opening day of the season, and his bite in the middle of the field has been conspicuous by its absence.

Pardew admitted he was a particular miss in yesterday's 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw with Aston Villa and is hoping the break for international matches - Tiote will miss his country's vital African Nations Cup play-off clash with Senegal because of the injury - will allow him to return to full fitness ahead of a tough trip to Everton.

"I think Cheick Tiote will be back. He was sorely missed today. That was a Cheick game today," Pardew said.

"He would have been in and around a few of those Villa boys, and it will be nice to see him back in a black and white shirt for Everton.

"We are expecting him to be in and around it for the Everton game, we really are. We have to work hard on him, but I am hoping, fingers crossed, that we can get him right for that."

Newcastle were a shadow of the side which stormed in to the top five last season as they laboured to claw their way back into a game which at times passed them by.

Villa defender Ciaran Clark headed the visitors into a deserved 22nd-minute lead when he powered Barry Bannan's cross past stranded keeper Tim Krul, and although Brad Guzan, preferred in goal to Shay Given, had to hack a Papiss Cisse shot off the line, they were good value for their half-time advantage.

However, the Magpies responded after the break and Hatem Ben Arfa did so in explosive style, cutting inside from the left to blast a 59th-minute rocket past Guzan to level.

Both sides could have won it at the death with Guzan having to pull off another good save deep into injury time to keep out Yohan Cabaye's free-kick.

Pardew, however, admitted the Magpies had not deserved three points, and that several of his bigger names are feeling the effects of the gruelling football calendar.

He said: "Some of our players are not bang in form, but when you are playing almost 11 months - actually, it's a bit more than that for some players, Cisse, Cabaye...

"It's too much football, really. We are going to have to rest them here and there and get them back to form, and that's what we will do."

The draw handed Villa their first point of the season and left manager Paul Lambert reflecting on a tough start to his reign.

He said: "I just get on with it. I believe in them and trust them, and if they keep doing what they are doing, for their own careers as well as the football club's career, they will keep going.

"We will try to get everything out of them, but the lads have been absolutely brilliant for me. I have nothing but praise for them."

PA

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