Sam Allardyce â€“ taking a rest from his frustrations in the transfer market – talked to the Evening Chronicle about tonight’s game against Glasgow Celtic and discussed who was likely to make appearances in the game.
Nobby Solano has also been talking of his enhanced fitness and is looking forward to the game tonight – where he could start in central midfield – in place of the injured Joey Barton.
This is the team’s third game in pre-season schedule of six games that have been arranged before the league kickoff against Bolton Wanderers.
Sam told the Evening Chronicle:
â€œI hope Michael and Shola will play in some stage of the game after missing our friendly at Carlisle on Saturday.â€
The same applies to Steven Taylor, but really I donâ€™t want to rush him, although James Milner and Geremi should both be OK.â€
Mark Viduka is back from Asia with us and has started training, but tomorrowâ€™s match against one of his former teams will come too early for him.â€
Nobby Solano â€“ who says he’s fitter now than he’s ever been in his whole career – may start in the center of midfield and also talked about tonight’s game:
â€œEvery game at St Jamesâ€™ Park is special, but to play against a special team like Celtic means it will be a good night. â€œThey are a big club and their fans will come down in big numbers.”
“The pre-season games, though, are important because it will allow the manager to build his team for Bolton on the first day. â€œPlaying against Celtic sends a shiver down your spine when you are waiting in the tunnel to go out. â€œThey are a huge club around the whole world.”
“We know it will be tough in every game from now, but we arenâ€™t concerned about winning at the moment. â€œWe want to stay fit and avoid injury. â€œItâ€™s a great chance for Sam Allardyce to look at everybody, including the youngsters coming through.â€
“We want to be back in Europe next season and I am looking ahead. â€œI was pleased to get 90 minutes against Carlisle.
â€œThe older you get, you need to play more because it keeps you fitter. â€œBut I am proud of my condition and want to keep it going.â€
It will be interesting as to where Sam plays Solano next year – he can operate on the right wing but when at Aston Villa he played in central midfield a few times and looked good – because of his massive skills on the ball. Of course we also saw last season Nobby is also an experienced right back when asked to play in that position.
Other news on the injury front is that Emre is still nursing his injured ankle picked up at the end of last season at Reading. The Turk has traveled to Germany to try to sort out his injury problems before the season starts. Celestine Babayaro is already in Germany having treatment from top German specialist Dr Ulrike Mushaweck for his hamstring problems – that have consistently dogged his time at Newcastle. Obviously Sam would like to get to the bottom of these players’ persistent injuries – in an attempt to get a lot more playing time out of both of them.
Big Sam had also been hoping to announce his choice of captain this week but said he was not yet ready to do so and finally Chinese captain Zheng Zhi, who had insisted Newcastle and Birmingham City both want to sign him â€“ will not get his chance at Newcastle because Sam has indicated Newcastle will not be signing any player from China. Well that one’s been put to bed â€“ as they say.
Let’s hope we see a good entertaining game against Celtic – and it will be interesting to see the size of the crowd tonight.