By Coral Barry

Cheick Tiote has taken part in an intense Newcastle training session as the midfielder gets closer to full fitness.

Tiote, 29, has not featured for Newcastle since the 5-1 defeat to Chelsea on February 13th.

The defensive midfielder has been struggling with a muscle injury but was fully involved in training with the first team group on Thursday.

Newcastle conducted their session in front of the local media at Darsley Park and the Newcastle Chronicle’s Lee Ryder tweeted from the Benton base.

In the four league games that Tiote has missed, Newcastle have lost three and draw one and are now second from the bottom of the table.

The 1-1 result against local rivals Sunderland on Sunday was the first time in four league matches the Magpies have managed to pick up a point and leaves Newcastle three points from safety.

The Northern club’s medical staff are hopeful Tiote will be fit enough to take part in the crucial game against Norwich after the international break.

Newcastle travel to Norwich after the two-week rest in a must-win showdown with their relegation rivals.

Rafael Benitez has given his first press conference as Newcastle manager

Benitez boost: Newcastle boss could have midfielder back for crucial Norwich class

Norwich are three points above Newcastle in the table and are currently a point above the drop zone.

A victory against Norwich would significantly improve Newcastle’s chances of survival with eight games left to play.

In other Newcastle news, another left-back injury has caused a crisis in the Magpies defence.