Newcastle United have been dealt an injury blow ahead of their quarter-final first leg tie against Benfica on Thursday night, with Cheik Tiote set to miss out.
The hard-working midfielder failed to prove his fitness ahead of Thursday night’s game at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, and wasn’t in the 19-man squad which left Tyneside for Portugal this afternoon.
Tiote suffered a strain in training last week, and joins Massadio Haidara on the sidelines as the defender is still suffering from knee and thigh problems controversially suffered against Wigan Athletic.
However, there was some good news for Newcastle manager Alan Pardew as defender Davide Santon has recovered from the thigh problem that kept him out of Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at Manchester City - he travels with the squad.
Also, goalkeeper Tim Krul, who has been out since February with an ankle injury, could make his return for the Toon in place of Rob Elliot. The Dutchman is pushing for a start, and could give Pardew a selection headache.
Newcastle will be looking to put in a good performance against the current Portuguese league leaders, and will look to create a platform they can build upon ahead of the return leg at St James’s Park next week.
Newcastle United squad v Benfica (alphabetical):
Ameobi, Anita, Bigirimana, Cabaye, Campbell, Cisse, Elliot, Gosling, Gutierrez, Tim Krul, Marveaux, Obertan, Perch, Santon, Simpson, Sissoko, S Taylor, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa.