CHEIK Tiote is battling to be fit for Sunday’s African Cup of Nations final.
The Newcastle United midfielder missed Ivory Coast’s 3-1 semi-final victory over DR Congo on Wednesday night with an ankle problem.
Tiote suffered the injury in his country’s second group game, and Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard hopes to have the 28-year-old back for the showpiece.
Tiote is due to return to England early next week, though he is likely to miss Newcastle’s February 11 game against Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Meanwhile Newcastle head coach John Carver will have Siem de Jong available for Sunday’s home game against Stoke City.
De Jong, sidelined since early September, came through an Under-21 game against this week with no problems.
Carver also hopes to have defender Paul Dummett back for the Stoke match. Dummett missed last weekend’s 3-0 win over Hull City with a hamstring problem.