Cheick Tiote says he’s looking up the Premier League table – and not towards the exit door.
Tiote is back in Newcastle United’s starting XI after overcoming the knee problem which saw him miss the second half of last season.
We need to try to focus on being higher in the table. We have been at the bottom for a long time. We need to do everything to look forward.Cheick Tiote
The 29-year-old, reportedly a target for Major League Soccer club New England Revolution, has long been linked with moves away from St James’s Park.
But Tiote insists his only “focus” ahead of Saturday’s home game against Leicester City is helping 17th-placed Newcastle climb further up the table.
Asked about his future, he said: “We need to try to focus on being higher in the table.
“We have been at the bottom for a long time.
“We need to do everything to look forward.
“We need to work every day in training and try to win some games.”
United beat Bournemouth 1-0 before the international break, but the scoreline didn’t reflect that game at the Vitality Stadium, where goalkeeper Rob Elliot pulled off a series of saves to keep the hosts at bay.
Tiote, however, felt the team were due some luck, having played far better and lost in some of their previous games.
“Sometimes we need some luck,” he said.
“We have played well in the last few games, but we don’t have chances to score.”
Meanwhile, Micky Mellon has backed Jamie Vardy to keep making history as he closes in on a remarkable record.
The Leicester striker will equal Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Premier League achievement of scoring in 10 straight games if he nets against Newcastle.
Vardy is battling to be fit to have a shot at the record, set in 2003, after missing England’s defeat to Spain and Tuesday night’s Wembley win over France with a hip problem.
But, if he recovers, Shrewsbury boss Mellon – who managed him at Fleetwood Town – believes Vardy can set a new record.
“I absolutely love him – I hope he goes and gets 40 on the trot,” said Mellon.
“He has got fire – he could heat a cold room.
“The lad is on fire, he has desire beyond belief.
“I’m absolutely elated for him, I couldn’t be prouder if he was my own boy.
“He’s going to continue to do it because he’s brilliant.
“I wish he was Scottish. He can do what he wants, he can.
“I’m delighted for him.”
Mellon signed Vardy for Fleetwood from Halifax and he scored 34 goals as the Cod Army were promoted to the Football League for the first time in their history in 2012.
It earned him a £1million move to the Foxes and Mellon was keen to impress the 28-year-old has improved dramatically since he left Fleetwood.
“It won’t affect him in the slightest. It’s a fantastic story – he’s moved on massively since he left me,” he said.