Chris Hughton’s job as caretaker manager is already being tested by a number of injuries in the Newcastle squad.
Chris Hughton – squad challenged by injuries
Jonas Gutierrez will return with Fabricio Coloccini from their Argentine duties in Peru, and Jonas’ shoulder injury will be assessed today, but it will be a surprise if he can play tomorrow against Hull City.
And bad news regarding Australian Mark Viduka, who has yet to play this season, and could be out another six weeks with his Achilles heel injury, after having all summer to recover.
Joey Barton is banned for the next six games, José Enrique is out with a hamstring injury, and Obafemi Martins is also doubtful, so it appears that Hughton will have to shuffle things around in the team.
This is exactly what Kevin Keegan had feared, that while there is certainly a lot of quality in the squad, we just don’t have enough players to combat injuries and lack of form through the season.
With so few attacking options Chris may elect to give new boy Xisco his first start alongside captain Michael Owen in attack, and he can certainly play the impressive Sebastien Bassong at left back, leaving free Charles N’Zogbia for a more attacking role.
Newcastle’s other new signing, Uruguayan central midfielder Ignacio Gonzalez, is also expected to start and Danny Guthrie may be forced to play on the right wing to cover for the loss of Gutiérrez, although Geremi would also be a possibility there.
Gutierrez could be missing for the next two weeks after he injured his shoulder playing for Argentina in their World Cup qualifier against Peru on Wednesday night after just 16 minutes of that game.
Hughton said today:
“Jonas came down very heavy on his shoulder playing for Argentina. We’ve spoken to him and he’s back in Newcastle on Friday afternoon.”
“At this particular moment, until he is back with us and has been assessed, we can not say what the exact damage is. We’ll know more once we’ve seen him.”
“Whenever there is an international game you always hope everyone comes back okay and that they are ready to go again at the weekend.”
We must try to get a good win tomorrow afternoon, even if the club is in a bit of disarray, because we must pick up all the points we can in the league this season, if we are indeed to turn things around, once and for all.
We’ll have out match preview later today.