ALAN Pardew’s banking on Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tiote to galvanise Newcastle United – and guide the club towards Europe.
The pair will be back for the visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers on February 25.
Until then, Pardew’s players will have to stew on Saturday’s 5-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
Cabaye was serving the last game of a three-match ban for his kick at Brighton’s Adam El-Abd, while Ivory Coast international Tiote was preparing for last night’s African Cup of Nations final.
Pardew was also without the injured Ryan Taylor.
And his midfield was overrun by a rampant Tottenham side, who scored four goals in a devastating first-half performance.
Newcastle dropped to sixth in the Premier League, and remain well-placed for a Europa League place.
“We had no Cabaye, no Tiote and no Ryan Taylor,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“There was a big part of our midfield missing, and that was pretty evident. It hurt that Cabaye wasn’t playing.”
United won two of their three games during Cabaye’s suspension, but his absence was felt in North London.
Lee Probert – who refereed Newcastle’s cup loss at Brighton – was the fourth official.
Probert missed Cabaye’s stray kick in the fourth-round tie, which Pardew and El-Abd felt was accidental, but the midfielder was later banned.
Pardew said: “I saw the referee who reffed the Brighton game. It was interesting to hear what he said.”
Asked what Probert said to him, Pardew added: “I’m not going to tell you.”