Newcastle are in a little bit of a dilemma again with injuries after yesterday’s game, and we’ll have a patched up side to take on League Leaders Liverpool at St. James’ Park tomorrow, in a game which has an early 12 noon kick off.
Jose Enrique damaged a hamstring in the warm-up for the Wigan game, Mark Viduka tore a groin muscle, Habib Beye is out for 6 weeks with a knee injury, and Sebastien Bassong was sent off yesterday and misses the game tomorrow through suspension.
As we know our squad is paper-thin and this injury dilemma comes at a good time, in a way, because there’s no excuse now for not bringing in more players in January to strengthen the squad.
Joe Kinnear will quickly have to sort out what team he will play tomorrow and get the lads practicing together today.
This is the side we think Joe will field tomorrow for the Liverpool game:
Geremi Coloccini Taylor N’Zogbia
Gutierrez Butt Guthrie Duff
Subs: Harper Edgar Tozer Cacapa Kadar LuaLua Xisco
A lot will depend on how Andy Carroll shapes up for this game, which will be his first start of the season, but the 19 year-old 6’3″ striker is a good player, big and strong, and looked very good against Wigan yesterday.
It’s a great opportunity for young Carroll to show what he can do, and that next season Newcastle will be able to dispense with the services of Mark Viduka, who earns huge wages on Tyneside, but is nearly always out injured.
The back line isn’t too bad, and it gives a good opportunity to Steven Taylor at the back, as he’s been on the bench for the few games, and can play very well in his best position, center-back.
Geremi also has a chance to prove to Joe Kinnear that he can do a job at Newcastle, because it looks like he could be out of Newcastle in the summer.
Charlie N’Zogbia hardly ever lets the side down, and although he doesn’t like playing at left back, he did very well yesterday, and he’s more than decent in that position.
On the Liverpool side of things, Javier Mascherano missed Liverpool’s Boxing Day win over Bolton, but is expected to start against Newcastle.
Alvaro Arbeloa is still sidelined with a hamstring injury, but Fernando Torres could return as a substitute, after missing Liverpool’s 3-0 romp against Bolton Wanderers yesterday.
This will be a huge test of Joe Kinnear’s skills at motivating the players for a massive game.
The last thing Joe wanted at Wigan was a defeat, but a good display and some points (a win would be fantastic) tomorrow could soon get us over the big disappointment of yesterday.
The Newcastle fans can also help, by keeping with the team for 90 minutes, whatever happens during the game.
And as we have said, with pride and 100% commitment tomorrow, anything is possible, especially at St. James’ Park.
Howay The Lads!!