As expected Kevin, Keegan has named a strong looking Newcastle United eleven for the game against Hartlepool United this afternoon, at Victoria Park.
Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan fields interesting side
Nicky Butt will skipper the side today, in the absence of regular captain Michael Owen, and the former Manchester United stalwart is joined in midfield by Damien Duff, James Milner and Charles N’Zogbia – a strong combination indeed.
Shay Given returns in goal, having missed the final two months of last season because of injury, and 20 year-old Fraser Forster is the substitute, who we would expect to make his debut, probably in the second half.
Late news is that captain Michael Owen and goalkeeper Steve Harper picked up slight knocks during the week, and will not be risked today.
Newcastle will field a back four of David Edgar, Steven Taylor, Claudio Cacapa and Jose Enrique, so Edgar gets his chance, in the absence of regular right back Habib Beye.Â David started his first team career at Newcastle in the right back position.
Also, this will be a chance for Brazilian center-back Claudio Cacapa to show he is much better than he looked last season, when he was prone to too many errors at the back, and often look too slow against pacy attackers.
Nigerian favorite Oba Martins, who got 10 goals last season for the side to add to the 17Â he scored in his first season, is partnered in attack by Alan Smith, and Newcastle are in a 4-4-2 formation this afternoon.
We will look for Smith to have an effective game, and hopefully he can start scoring some goals.
It’s also good to see Charles N’Zogbia starting, probably in center midfield, with Damien on the left wing, and Milner in his favorite position out on the right wing.
New boy Danny Guthrie is named among the Newcastle substitutes, and would expect him to play the second half.
A number of youngsters are named on the substitutes bench, and it wouldn’t surprise us if 18 year-old Ben Tozer is given a run out at left back in the second half.
Hartlepool United vs Newcastle United
Friendly, Victoria Park,Saturday, July 19, 2008
Hartlepool: Arran Lee-Barrett, Jamie McCunnie, Ritchie Humphreys, Antony Sweeney, Ben Clark, Sam Collins (c), Gary Liddle, Ritchie Jones, James Brown, Joel Porter, Matty Robson
Subs: Andy Monkhouse, Jonny Rowell, Michael Mackay, Richard Barker, Alan Power, Michael Nelson, Willie Boland, Jan Budtz, David Foley
Newcastle United: Shay Given, David Edgar, Jose Enrique, Steven Taylor, Claudio Cacapa, Damien Duff, James Milner, Nicky Butt (c), Charles N’Zogbia, Oba Martins, Alan Smith
Subs: Fraser Forster, Danny Guthrie, Shola Ameobi, Frank Wiafe Danquah, BenTozer, Callum Morris, Mark Doninger, Jonny Godsmark, Darren Lough
Referee: Graham Laws