Toon's Tiote told to stay in Cheik
The Ivory Coast international returns from his third suspension of the season - a two-game ban for reaching 10 bookings - to face the Premier League leaders at St James' Park on Tuesday night. Tiote has been one of the finds of the season, but his disciplinary record has been less than impressive. He racked up five bookings - four of them in successive games - and a one-match ban by the middle of November, and then incurred a three-match ban, perhaps harshly, for his sending off in the FA Cup third round defeat at Stevenage on January 8. He has missed five of Pardew's 16 league games in charge through suspension and has been told to address the problem as a matter of urgency, particularly on a night when Sir Alex Ferguson will be at St James' Park. Pardew said: "I haven't had that many Premier League games but he has missed five of them, and that can't be right. He can be overzealous at times. "The referee will be important in this game. I don't want the Manchester United factor, with Alex and the way he is with referees, to come into play. "It will be important for Alex and myself that 11 players are on the pitch at the end of the game because there is going to be a bit of feistiness in it." However, Pardew is desperate for Tiote not to sacrifice his high-octane approach to his destructive role in the middle of the field. He added: "It's an important balance and he needs to get that right. "He is important to us and we have missed him. We missed him against Aston Villa with the pace they have in the team and having him back in the side is going to help us considerably." Tiote will be joined in the squad by midfielder Stephen Ireland for the first time since his January loan move from Villa. The 24-year-old arrived with a knee injury, then picked up a thigh problem in training and spent the bulk of last week at the bedside of partner Jessica Lawlor after she suffered multiple injuries in a car accident. Ireland has a chance of being involved, but goalkeeper Steve Harper is a doubt after having an injection for a knee injury, while striker Shola Ameobi is touch and go with a similar problem. Dutchman Tim Krul is standing by to take over from Harper for a game in which victory would edge United closer to the title and go some way towards making up for their FA Cup semi-final defeat at the hands of Manchester City at the weekend. Pardew said: "They don't lose two games back to back often, so that makes it a little bit harder, but the motivation of Manchester United is always the same. "They are expected to win and they will be coming to St James' to win, but they are going to find it a tough game" United too have at least one major player back in the shape of striker Wayne Rooney following his own disciplinary troubles, and Pardew knows exactly what to expect from the England star. He said: "I have been a manager more or less all of Rooney's career and I think he is playing as well as he has ever played. "That last game against Chelsea was as good a game as I have ever seen him play, so he is in top form and we are going to have to cope with that. "Top players, their quality is ingrained. They have down-time like anybody in any trade, but they come out of it and quality will shine through. "Rooney is back to his best."