Sam Allardyce will make a late decision on whether to play Mark Viduka in tomorrow’s derby clash with Sunderland.
Thatâ€™s bad news on the surface for Newcastle fans, because we thought Mark would be fit enough and be put straight into the fray against old enemy Sunderland.
Mark Viduka – can be a massive player for Newcastle tomorrow
The 32-year-old Australian has missed Newcastle’s last four games with a slight calf problem, and Newcastle have certainly missed his physical presence up front.
Sam talked today and gave a very long interview, but we want to publish the whole thing since Sam always has some good things to say.
“It’s always key to have your big players fit, and Mark Viduka’s past record in the game stands up for itself.â€
“As a Premier League striker, he has got a very, very good track record in terms of how he contributes outside the box, in terms of linking and starting off attacks and how he contributes in providing opportunities for other players to score goals.â€
“But the biggest contribution of all is how many goals he scores himself for a centre-forward, a big, big centre-forward.” “These days, there are big centre-forwards about, but they don’t have the sort of goal ratio that Mark Viduka has.â€
“He is a big, big player for us to have available again and hopefully available for a long period of time now because it has been a little too spasmodic in terms of the niggly injuries he has picked up.â€
“He has been very frustrated by that and has put in a huge amount of work over the last three or four weeks to make sure when he comes back, hopefully it is with a bang and not a repeat of any of the niggly injuries he has had before.â€
“But I have got to decide whether it is the right thing to start him or not on Saturday. That’s my decision and something I and the staff need to talk about.â€
“In a local derby, as frantic as it is and him not playing for the last four weeks, is it the right thing to start him, or maybe bring him off the bench?â€ “That I have yet to decide, but we will do that in the next day or so.”
Good words from Sam, but we would still like to see Mark start up front. He is experienced enough to know what this games means, and he can be a huge player for us on Saturday. We donâ€™t think the little and little combination of Owen and Martins works, because it restricts the options Newcastle have of going forward.
The two up front players on Saturday were Owen and Smith, and they created little against Pompey as Michael and Alan, and later Oba Martins, were left feeding off scraps, and Allardyce is hopeful the powerful Australian can help fix that. Sam continued:
“You have got a player that handles the ball extremely well and who can handle the ball when marked by the opposition.â€
“He has no fears about receiving the ball when marked tightly by the opposition, and that allows the team to break off him and have confidence in knowing that ball is going to be held up and they can make a run forward.â€
“He gives us a lot more forward momentum when we are in possession.” Midfielder Nicky Butt is suspended, while defender Claudio Cacapa is a doubt with a knee problem.â€
We’re not sure that Claudio will make the squad this week and it’s probably best to give him a game or two to reflect on the Portsmouth game. Claudio knows he has to do a lot better than on Saturday, but we have a suspicion Cacapa wasn’t fully fit to play against Portsmouth.
As far as big Mark goes, we want to see him start tomorrow, but we do need another big man at the club, now that Ameobi doesn’t seem to have much of a future at Newcastle. We’d like to see Nicholas Anelka come in during January, he’s so much more of a player these days then we thought, and he has grown up since his Arsenal days. He would be great at Newcastle, just great. Dear Santa ……….. 😀
You can join the discussion of tomorrowâ€™s derby game on our Newcastle United Forum.