Joey Barton will very likely be one of the substitutes tonight as Kevin Keegan tries to get by with a limited squad for the important game at Arsenal tonight.
Shola Ameobi, who has been ill, may also figure tonight, but probably will start as a substitute.
Newcastle are still missing African Cup of Nations quartet Geremi, Habib Beye, Abdoulaye Faye and Oba Martins who are all away in Ghana. However, we half expect some of them to return before the end of the week, depending on the results of games to be played in the next couple of days.
Newcastle striker Mark Viduka will miss the game again with a calf problem and midfielder Emre is serving the 3rd game of his 3 game suspension.
Czech winger Tomas Rosicky is a major doubt for Arsenal with a knee injury but Theo Walcott is available to play on the right while Manuel Almunia should make a return in goal along with Bacary Sagna coming back in at right back.
We donâ€™t think Kevin will make too many changes form the side that did well, at least in the first half last Saturday. Hereâ€™s the team we think Kevin will field:
Carr Taylor Cacapa Enrique
Milner Butt Nâ€™Zogbia Duff
Owen (c) Smith
Subs: Harper Rozehnal Barton Ameobi Lua Lua
One change could be starting Ameobi in place of Smith up front with Owen. But it’s obvious what we have to do tonight and that’s to push Arsenal this time all the way for the full 90 minutes. If the lads can produce their very good form of the first half last Saturday we could get something out of this game.
While we’re not concerned about relegation we do need to collect some points in our next few games to ensure we are OK and not dragged into a relegation scrap. Anything out of this game will be a plus tonight – and we expect a good performance from the boys.
Squads for the game:
Arsenal (from): Almunia, Sagna, Senderos, Gallas, Clichy, Hleb, Flamini, Fabregas, Walcott, Eduardo, Adebayor, Lehmann, Hoyte, Diaby, Gilberto, Bendtner, Traore, Rosicky, Randall.
Newcastle (from): Given, Harper, Carr, N’Zogbia, Enrique, Rozehnal, Cacapa, Taylor, Edgar, Butt, Barton, Smith, Milner, Duff, LuaLua, Owen, Ameobi, Carroll.
Comments very welcome.