Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce is starting to face a number of selection posers for the Newcastle team to play Derby County a week today at Pride Park.
This is exactly what Sam needs to ensure the team continue at their peak form and collect as many league points as possible before the end of the year. Given we are doing well then we can then further strengthen the squad in January for a push for the highest league position we can get to before the end of the season. The midfield will probably be the area we can strengthen most in the January transfer window.
We do have a number of games coming up so most players will get a game.
Sam Allardyce - summer strengthening of squad has given him selection problems – good
So what does Big Sam have to decide?
- Emre is back to fitness after being out injured almost all season, but he did play 90 minutes for Turkey in their 2-2 draw with Malta on Saturday. Emre can provide some of the creativity that has been missing in Newcastle’s midfield with the absence of both Barton and Emre so far due to injury. The fact that yesterday Emre said he wants to leave Newcastle for Galatasaray in Turkey doesn’t help anything. Seems to us that Emre doesn’t look forward to the competition for places, which is disappointing. However, we think Sam will want to weigh up Emre’s talent and he could well be used at Derby.
- Who to choose as goalkeeper. Given had an excellent game for Ireland against Slovakia but Steve Harper couldn’t have played much better in the games he has played for Newcastle this season. This is a difficult one for Sam since he will want to keep both players happy â€“ we think Harper will get the nod â€“ simply because it’s difficult right now to leave him out given his displays of late.
- What will the defensive back four be? This may be a big one for Sam because it looks to us the best back four right now is
Beye Cacapa Rozehnal N’Zogbia
No place for Steven Taylor. We understand Beye will start but why is it taking so long to get Enrique into the team? Once Jose is ready and slots in at left-back Sam can play Milner and N’Zogbia on the wings in a 4-4-2 formation. We would then have a sturdy defense but also be able to attack quickly down either wing.
- Last one for Sam is who starts up front. We think Ameobi and Owen â€“ assuming Viduka is not yet ready due to his hamstring injury. We think Shola deserves a start to see what he can do â€“ and that Owen also deserves a start because he is looking very sharp now. That’s not to say Oba Martins will not figure. Oba is a favorite of ours and also with most fans. He did a great job in the win over Wigan when he came on and made Owen’s goal from the right wing. We’d expect him to get a good run out in the second half against Derby – depending on how the game is going.
We expect a clean sheet and a win and see no reason why this cannot be accomplished. Yes, that’s asking a lot especially away from home but this is possible if Sam’s team is as good as we think it is.
You can comment on the game on our forum â€“ we’ve had quite a few posts on the game already.
As far as the Derby game goes what do you think?
Let us know – a win will put us nicely up the league table.