INJURED Yohan Cabaye is battling to be fit to face Manchester City – but Tim Krul is expected to be back between the posts on Sunday.
The pair weren’t involved in Newcastle United’s 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Cardiff City on Saturday.
Cabaye is sidelined with an Achilles injury, while Krul was left out because of a shoulder problem.
United manager Alan Pardew expects goalkeeper Krul to be back for the visit of City to Tyneside on Sunday, but midfielder Cabaye isn’t due to return to training until Friday.
And Pardew will be reluctant to take any risks with influential Cabaye, who was allowed to return home to his native France for the weekend.
“We’ll have to wait and see,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“The diagnosis on Yohan is that he isn’t going to train until Friday, so we’ll have to wait and see on him.”
Rob Elliot deputised for Krul against Cardiff, and the 27-year-old could do little about the visiting side’s two goals.
But Pardew is confident the Dutchman will be fit to face Manuel Pellegrini’s title-chasers after missing the FA Cup game with a shoulder injury he picked up in a collision with team-mate Cheik Tiote.
“I’m more hopeful about Tim,” said Pardew. “Really and truly, it was only those two.”
Fabricio Coloccini, meanwhile, is a longer-term casualty. The defender suffered medial ligament damage to his knee in the New Year’s Day 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.
Coloccini, Newcastle’s captain, could be out for as many as six weeks.
His place will be taken by either Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa or Steven Taylor, who both played against Cardiff with Mike Williamson – who will return against City – rested on the bench.
Right-back Mathieu Debuchy, meanwhile, will serve the second of a three-game ban for his sending-off against West Brom.