Newcastle United have been handed a timely boost as the Premier League campaign enters the final straight.
The boost I’m referring to is a return to fitness for Cheik Tiote, Leon Best and Sylvain Marveaux.
While Best and Marveaux have been out for a long time, both have started full training once more and are expected to be available for at least a cameo role before the end of the season.
Indeed Leon Best is looking for more than a cameo role as he tries to nail down a place in Giovanni Trapattoni’s Republic of Ireland squad for Euro 2012. The 25-year-old has been sidelined for two months with a knee injury picked up against Queens Park Rangers back in January – a game he scored the winning goal in. It will be difficult for Best to get back into the team but he is looking to help out if he can.
“I’m hoping to get a few games under my belt and just help that final push in the last few matches,” Best told The Chronicle. He added: “I just want to help the team in anyway I can.”
Sylvain Marveaux is unlikely to make any real impact in the final few weeks of the season, although he will probably make a token appearance at some point. Personally I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen from Marveaux, but the lad has big question marks over his fitness that need answering before the success of his signing can be judged.
However, as I’ve understood it anyway, the reason that Marveaux has been out so long is because he has had surgery to repair the entire problem area as opposed to just being patched up and sent out to play again. It’s an approach we’ve seen before from United – ensuring players recover fully – so hopefully it works with Marveaux as he can be a real asset for us providing he stays fit.
The big news though, and perhaps the most immediate news, is that Cheik Tiote has trained all week and will be ready to return against Stoke City on Saturday. Tiote missed the second half against Swansea and the 2-0 win over Bolton, but will go straight into the starting XI after shaking off his hamstring injury.
Good news all round then!