Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce doesnâ€™t seem to have any new injury problems from Wednesdayâ€™s tough encounter with Arsenal, and is likely to field an unchanged side for the visit of Birmingham City today at St. Jamesâ€™ Park.
Longer term injured players, Abdoulaye Faye (calf), Stephen Carr (hamstring) and Claudio Cacapa (knee) are all still recovering, while Michael Owen continues his rehabilitation from his thigh problem, picked up playing for England.
The instructions to the Newcastle team today will be very simple. Itâ€™s got to be the same again against a Birmingham City side who are fresh from a 3-2 away win at Tottenham Hotspur under new Scottish manager Alex McLeish. But Newcastle fans will be expecting all 3 points today and anything less, after Wednesday’s exciting display against league leaders Arsenal, will be a disappointment.
Alex McLeish himself has no fresh major injury problems. Gary McSheffrey has a minor hip problem but will be available as will Garry O’Connor, who confirmed his fitness after a recent groin problem. He recently played the full game for the reserves and came through that game well.
It is also expected that McLeish will not include skipper Damien Johnson despite the Northern Ireland international playing two full reserve games after his hamstring injuries.
It would be nice if Newcastle can keep a clean sheet, since it’s 12 games and over 3 months ago that we kept a clean sheet last against Wigan Athletic. We would expect something like a 2-0 win, but Newcastle will have to be near their best to get the win, which we desperately need.
Newcastle United: (from) Given, Harper, Beye, Enrique, Rozehnal, Taylor, Edgar, Butt, Milner, Geremi, Emre, N’Zogbia, Barton, Smith, Viduka, Martins, Ameobi.
Birmingham: (from) Taylor, Kingson, Doyle, Kelly, Ridgewell, Djourou, Schmitz, Sadler, Queudrue, Larsson, Muamba, Nafti, McSheffrey, Kapo, O’Connor, Forssell, Jerome, Johnson, Palacios.