There will be a carnival like atmosphere this afternoon, as a packed St. James’ Park stadium welcomes back Kevin Keegan for the visit of Bolton Wanders in a late KO at 5:15 pm.
After all the excitement and ecstasy of the last 3 days we have to get back – at least for this report – to the hard realities of today’s game. We have lost our last 4 league games with a goal difference of 11 goals conceded against only a single goal scored. Not good, not good at all.
Let’s make it clear what we need today – 3 points.
It would be nice to have an attacking display and some goals, and our new manager Kevin Keegan has almost promised to deliver that. But we are being a little cautious here. However, we did believe, even before Kevin Keegan arrived, that this is a game we could win for our first double of the season.
Bolton Wanderers may be cursing their luck at meeting Newcastle United at this time, and certainly the way the team demolished Stoke City in mid-week, before Kevin even took over the team, augers well for this afternoon.
We have 4 players away at the African Cup of Nations, and we have Butt, Smith and Emre all suspended for disciplinary reasons. That leaves us very short in midfield – in fact we don’t have enough central midfielders available.
The provisional squad is Given, Harper, Carr, N’Zogbia, Enrique, Rozehnal, Cacapa, Taylor, Edgar, Milner, Duff, LuaLua, Viduka, Owen, Carroll. Notice that’s just 15 players.
We will be lining up 4-4-2 (thank goodness and good riddance to 4-3-3 – never liked that one little bit) and this is the team we think Kevin will field this afternoon:
Edgar Taylor Cacpa Enrique
Milner N’Zogbia Carr Duff
Viduka Owen (capt)
Subs: Harper Rozehnal Caroll Lua Lua Troisi
Stephen Carr has played defensive midfield before and he is quite solid there. Carr doesn’t try anything fancy in that position, and he gets the ball and gives it to someone who can play – which is one way of describing the role of defensive midfield. 😀
The other option Keegan has is to play Rozehnal at right back or defensive midfield. But David has been dithering on the ball in the last few game, and in any case we think David Edgar deserves a run out at right back – he’s very solid there, and certainly will not let the side down, that’s for sure.
On the Bolton side of things new signings defender Gretar Steinsson and midfielder Matt Taylor could make their debuts today. Gavin McCann is doubtful following an injury in the defeat by Blackburn, while Gerald Cid has returned to Nice. Andy O’Brien, the former Newcastle United center-back under Sir Bobby Robson will probably line up for Bolton today.
The Provisional squad for Bolton Wanderers is:
Jaaskelainen, Hunt, J O’Brien, A O’Brien, Gardner, Michalik, Steinsson, Taylor, Campo, Cohen, Guthrie, Nolan, Davies, Giannakopoulos, McCann, Samuel, Wilhelmsson, Braaten, Alonso, Al Habsi.
That’s it – bottom line we need 3 points this afternoon, however we can get them.
Then we hope to welcome Shearer as assistant manager early next week.
😀 😀 😀