When Sam Allardyce was manager at Bolton he was able to bring off some good results when he meet some of the top teams after either an international break or after their European ties.
That’s because there was a good likelihood the opposition players were fatigued from their mid-week exploits and Big Sam made the very best use of that at Bolton.
That will hardly be the case at Newcastle where we hope to be in Europe again next season and had 14 of our players away on international duty recently.
Big Sam – show will be on other foot now at Newcastle
This is what Sam Allardyce said today:
“It is a constant battle for the big four, so just listen to what they say and you will know exactly what I am saying.â€ “It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact. It’s a reality that we have to live with.â€
“We had 14 players all over the world playing two games, Friday-Tuesday if it was the under-21s, or Saturday-Wednesday, and then tripping all the way back over here.â€
“I used to look at the fixtures when I was at Bolton and pray that when we got the big boys it was either between international fixtures or between Champions League fixtures, and I could set out the stall.â€
“Very few of my players would be away on international duty, or we were not playing in Europe and we would have a full squad ready to match them in the physical areas – in fact, be better than them because of their fatigue.â€
“That often brought us very good results – when you win at Old Trafford twice on the trot, you have got to stand up and listen to what I am saying.”
Sam will not be able to rely on that at Newcastle with all the players we have away on International duty all the time. Since we’re not in Europe this season there’ll be a chance when we meet teams after one of their European ties. But hopefully that will just be an advantage this season since we hope to qualify for Europe for next season.
Tuesday’s defeat at Arsenal means Newcastle’s fixture list will be even less crowded now in the next few months. The soap opera surrounding star striker Michael Owen’s groin injury means at least Michael will not be off playing for England against Estonia and then the trip to Russia in mid October â€“ although Alan Smith probably will be. Hopefully we’ll be able to report a successful operation on Michael later today and we may be able to assess his recovery time then. The concern with Michael has had more to do with him playing for England than Newcastle since we have a very able deputy in young Oba Martins of course. That will not be the case in January so it’s good that Michael is having the procedures done now.
Mark Viduka is expected to be able to make the starting line up following his foot injury to partner Obafemi Martins in attack and our team will look extremely strong on paper. Manchester City though have shown some excellent form this season under Sven Eriksson, whose record as a club manager is top class. But it’s an opportunity for Newcastle to spring back from Tuesday’s defeat.