Newcastle have an opportunity to get three wins in a row tomorrow afternoon at Craven Cottage against Fulham Football Club, but will need to be as good and determined as they were on Monday night, when they beat Aston Villa 2-0 on merit.
Joe Kinnear has already announced that he will field an unchanged side from Monday night, so that means that captain Michael Owen will again be on the bench, although we do expect him to get some playing time tomorrow, and more than the last minute or so he got against Villa, when the game well won.
Joe Kinnear pointed out before last Monday’s game that he had worked with the Newcastle defense and their play was very solid, and again Argentine Coloccini was outstanding and had another terrific game at center-back.
His Argentine colleague, Jonas Gutierrez, was also back to his best and in fact there were good displays all over the park from the Newcastle players.
The team will line up as follows:
Beye Taylor Coloccini Enrique
Guttierrez (Jonas) Butt Barton Duff
Subs: Harper Cacapa Bassong Geremi N’Zogbia Guthrie Owen
That’s an extremely strong team and strong bench too, and the team has started playing good football under Kinnear, and has improved continually over the last six weeks Joe has been on Tyneside.
Fulham are currently in 18th place (3rd bottom) with 11 points from their 10 games and a decent goal difference of -1, whereas the Magpies are now in 16th place, after today’s games, having accumulated 12 points from 11 games and with a -4 goal difference.
After beating Hull away today, Bolton Wanderers occupy 9th position with 14 points, so a Newcastle win could see us in the top 10 after tomorrow’s games. A Fulham win would take them above Newcastle by a couple of points, so this game is an important one, if we are to continue to climb the league, before the new owners arrive.
Eleven teams are grouped at the bottom with just 5 points separating the 9th placed club (Bolton) through the bottom placed 20th club (Spurs), and Joe Kinnear has called this game a six pointer.
The keys to this game for Newcastle are easy to list:
- The defense needs to keep playing solidly, with the increased communication we saw on Monday night, and with wingers Duff and Jonas helping back as well as Butt and Barton. No silly goals conceded.
- Barton and Butt in midfield need to keep playing well together and in particular, if we can get another great game out of Barton tomorrow, we should be in good shape. An early goal would be terrific because it will give us the early confidence to go on and win the game, hopefully. Duff and Jonas need to run at the defense as Jonas Gutierrez did so brilliantly against Aston Villa.
- Oba Martins needs to keep shooting at goal, and it was fairly obvious that Joe Kinnear wants Oba to shoot when he gets a good sight of the opposing goal, and to be more selfish when he gets even a half chance.
His first goal on Monday night was a good case in point, and a great goal at the right time. Shola needs to continue to take the weight off Oba, as he did quite well on Monday night, but we’d also like to see Ameobi hungrier for goals than he looked against Villa.
- Joe Kinnear will need to change the game, if he needs to on Monday night, and if we do get behind we would look to Kinnear to use his substitutes.
With such a strong bench of first teamers, we expect Joe to go all out for all 3 points – we need them.
Fulham will have Tony Kallio back, after he has overcome the virus that has been keeping him out, and he is now fit for selection
Frederik Stoor is still out sick and will miss the game, along with Seol Ky-Heon who has only recently returned from his homeland.
A win is what we need tomrrow, but it will not be easy.
Howay The Lads!