There’s an immediate surprise with Keegan’s first team selection as Shola Ameobi is recalled to the starting line up. Ameobi hasn’t featured since the Carling Cup defeat at Arsenal back in September. Shola comes in for Mark Viduka, who is injured yet again with a calf injury.
This is a great chance for Shola to prove what he can do in front of new manager Kevin Keegan and a packed house at St. James’ Park.
Newcastle are without suspended Nicky Butt, Alan Smith and Emre. David Rozehnal surprisingly comes into central midfield alongside Charles N’Zogbia. Michael Owen will be captain in the absence of both Geremi and Smith and play with Shola up front. David will play defensive midfield, which he’s played before and Charles will attack. It’s a standard 4-4-2 line-up with wingers Milner and Duff.
It wouldn’t surprise us in the least if Michael scores a few goals today – we certainly hope so.
Substitutes will be Academy graduates Andy Carroll, Kazenga LuaLua, David Edgar and James Troisi.
As expected Bolton give debuts to recently signed Matt Taylor and Gretar Steinsson, both of whom interested Newcastle at one time.
Newcastle United: Shay Given, Stephen Carr, Jose Enrique, Steven Taylor, Claudio Cacapa, David Rozehnal, James Milner, Charles N’Zogbia, Damien Duff, Shola Ameobi, Michael Owen (c)
Subs: Steve Harper, James Troisi, David Edgar, Andy Carroll, Kazenga LuaLua
Bolton Wanderers: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Kevin Nolan (c), Ricardo Gardner, Kevin Davies, Gretar Steinsson, Danny Guthrie, Gavin McCann, Joey O’Brien, Lubomir Michalik, Andy O’Brien, Matt Taylor
Subs: Ali Al Habsi, Jlloyd Samuel, Stelios, Ivan Campo, Tamir Cohen
Referee: Alan Wiley
Attendance: 52,000 plus