Will Sam Partner Viduka and Smith Up Front?

If Newcastle are going to get a result at Ewood Park tomorrow, we need a lot more of our players playing up to their potential. And we need more leaders on the field too.

One of the players who can help Newcastle’s turnaround has to be our Australian powerhouse striker up front, Mark Viduka.


Mark Viduka – back on the goals trail tomorrow?

Mark’s a much better player than we have previously given him credit. He takes as a lot of hammering up front and some of his deft foot-work is a joy to watch. But we also need some inspiration from the big man in terms of putting that ball in the net.

Mark’s been trying to get fitter but certainly looked off the pace last week against Liverpool. He’s been talking about his football today, so let’s take a look at what he had to say:

“I want to get as many goals as I can under my belt. With every game, you get fitter and fitter, so hopefully it should not be too long.”

“I’m very happy to be training and playing as normal. It has been stop-start.”

“I was happy with my form last season and I was looking – and still am looking – to keep on going from there.”

Viduka returned to action after a calf injury for the derby trip to Sunderland and played a solid game in the fortunate 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light. But last week he was very much a peripheral player against the Reds. We feel that Sam may be tempted to partner him with Alan Smith tomorrow, whom he usually finds a place for.

If Smith is to play tomorrow, it should either be in defensive midfield or up front. And to be truthful, we probably need Alan in the starting line-up tomorrow. Alan can certainly provide the bite, determination and passion we just have to show tomorrow at Ewood Park tomorrow, if we are to take all three points.

Michael Owen is back from his thigh treatment in Germany, but is not yet ready to return. We’re not sure if he’ll be ready for the next home game against Arsenal on Wednesday evening. Hope so.

Comments always welcome.

29 comments so far

  • steve

    Nov 30, 2007 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #1

    only if he wants to be sacked !!!

  • steve

    Nov 30, 2007 at 10:51 AM

    Comment #2

    do not play Smith in midfield – he has no positional sense, he should be our 3rd or 4th choice striker!!

  • Paul

    Nov 30, 2007 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #3

    he has positional sense, he is just wreckless at tackles as passion overflows. £6m was too much, £3.5m would have been good for him.

    We need a strong creative midfielder in January, any thoughts on who it should be?

    Arshavin I think, no European football may hinder any move, however.

  • paul p

    Nov 30, 2007 at 11:15 AM

    Comment #4

    van der vaart, wesley sneijder, diego, deco, torsten frings spring to mind straight away.

  • Chris F

    Nov 30, 2007 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #5

    Wesley sneijder……..you do know he only just went to Real Madrid last summer, right?

  • Kash

    Nov 30, 2007 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #6

    Paul P has obviously been playing Football Manager far too much!

  • bennit3b

    Nov 30, 2007 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #7

    “only if he wants to be sacked !!!” My thoughts exactly. I’ll walk down to the dugout and through him out myself!

    viduka and martins UPFRONT (even if the little pre Madonna is fit)

    and for gods sake we have to of the best young wingers in the league so play them both and in position!!!

  • Bill f

    Nov 30, 2007 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #8

    Why not, desperate times, desperate measures although with the rest of the team , as has it has been said a million times, in their best positions.

  • true

    Nov 30, 2007 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #9

    Ed A shudder went through me when i read you title to this article…. please dont do that.
    Steve is bang on the money smith is behind Vid, Owen and Martins in terms of upfront ability.
    Smith is nothing more than a ok fill in player when your preferred choice is out.
    You will get work rate and energy out of Smith but little else and most of this energy is miss directed.
    I will be disappointed if Smith is anywhere but the bench on Saturday.
    Butt and Barton in the middle for me.

  • Whumpie

    Nov 30, 2007 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #10

    Spot on, bennit3b – but have Smudge on the bench ready to come on when Duke’s pies take their toll just after half-time. He’s a good lad and has the guts others have been lacking recently – but he’s no midfielder (and certainly no winger) so while we have an unfit ‘big’ striker, keep him as supersub to feed Martins.

  • malaysian youngster

    Nov 30, 2007 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #11

    what will happened if we lose again?im tired of losing. having bad mood every weekend. and look forward for next week to win and bad mood again.

  • Whumpie

    Nov 30, 2007 at 12:34 PM

    Comment #12

    Oh, dear – Magvirus has reached the Far East!

    Don’t worry, ‘Malaysian Youngster’ – you’ll get used to it. And at least now you know why we drink so much in Newcastle. The good thing is that, unlike those nasty Man-U people, we get to enjoy our success more because every time we start to get used to winning, we get reminded of what it feels like to fail.

    And we’re better off than the Mackems because at least we do win occasionally, and we don’t smell of fish and sump oil.

  • Brisbane Mag

    Nov 30, 2007 at 12:38 PM

    Comment #13

    Viduka is a proven PL goal scorer but needs the ball in the opponents area to score.

    We’ve been aweful this season and must improve by getting the ball to our forwards in an attacking position to expect them to score.

    Sorry guys, I like Smith, either in attack or midfield, as he’s a team player; i.e. 100% and we don’t have enough of them at Newcastle……..

  • iain

    Nov 30, 2007 at 1:25 PM

    Comment #14

    away from home we need strikers who will pressure the oposition back four to stop them playing the ball from deep and passing through our mf to their mf.

    smith/oba upfront as tbh out of all our forwards the looked like they have the best partnership despite the lack of goals when they played together.

  • ToonKing

    Nov 30, 2007 at 1:54 PM

    Comment #15

    Well why not………stranger things have happened…it might just work..

  • steve

    Nov 30, 2007 at 2:02 PM

    Comment #16

    @toonking – I reckon thats what Sam says when he’s picking the team with a blindfold and a needle!!!

  • Whumpie

    Nov 30, 2007 at 2:07 PM

    Comment #17

    The blindfold is obviously fine, but he needs a better needle…

  • George

    Nov 30, 2007 at 2:24 PM

    Comment #18

    For me the best two to play up front together are Smith and Martins. Viduka is not the player he was and does not have the prescence about him he did last year.

  • Jay

    Nov 30, 2007 at 2:43 PM

    Comment #19

    WHY DO THAT WHEN WE HAVE MARTINS???!??!??!??!??!??!??!?

  • Whumpie

    Nov 30, 2007 at 2:52 PM

    Comment #20

    Yep, can’t see the Viduka&Smith thing being better than either of them with Martins (or Owen should he ever de-crock for long enough). But for cheeeerissakes – not Smith in defensive midfield! Why would you when you’ve got Butt or Geremi for that?

    For Saturday, I’m hoping to see (in front of Given, of course)

    Geremi – Taylor – Faye/Roz – Enrique
    Milner – Butt – Emre – Zog
    Viduka – Martins

    Mad idea, playing people in their proper positions…it might just work…

  • Hammy

    Nov 30, 2007 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #21

    No I wouldn’t play Sam with Viduka and Smith up front….

  • Bill f

    Nov 30, 2007 at 3:43 PM

    Comment #22

    Steve when you see Harper and Given playing up front your worst fears will be confimed. 😉

  • Toon Al

    Nov 30, 2007 at 4:10 PM

    Comment #23

    harper has played up front for us before haha

  • kenneth

    Nov 30, 2007 at 4:12 PM

    Comment #24

    im am gettig sick off this love thing between sam and smith!!! SMITH sucks big time! PLAY martins and viduka. Can anyone explaine why we dont play our TOP SCORER????

  • Whumpie

    Nov 30, 2007 at 4:12 PM

    Comment #25

    Martins in goal….?

  • Leo

    Nov 30, 2007 at 5:38 PM

    Comment #26

    wow lots of comments on this. people must feel strongly.

    play smith and martins up front, give it a try, it went well against everton. since then nothing has gone right.

  • bennit3b

    Nov 30, 2007 at 10:18 PM

    Comment #27

    Jay // Nov 30, 2007 at 14:43

    WHY DO THAT WHEN WE HAVE MARTINS???!??!??!??!??!??!??!?

  • azza jones

    Dec 1, 2007 at 12:52 AM

    Comment #28

    Your you F*&*IN kidding me if we do that we lose 3-0, Martins is our BEST striker full stop.
    Lets forget NUFC and start calling ousrselves Bolton ooops shit that name is taken….

    This was the worst article I have read!!!

  • toonmadtom

    Dec 1, 2007 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #29

    martins is by far the best striker we have. if BSA cant see that he should leave


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