The match today against Hull City at the KC Stadium affords Newcastle the opportunity to put right the mauling we received last week against Liverpool.
It also allows Newcastle to get off to a decent start to the year, if we can get a win today, against what will probably be a weakened Hull City side, we will go a long way to getting past last Sunday’s defeat.
Hull City have already said they will concentrate all their efforts on staying in the Premier League this season, so expect a number of changes to the side that were unluckily beaten 1-0 by Aston Villa earlier in the week in the league.
Joe Kinnear still has some injuries to contend with at Newcastle, as usual, with Nigerian striker Oba Martins (abdominal/groin) missing for another two weeks, and Habib Beye (ankle ligament) will be out for at least another eight weeks.
Both Mark Viduka (groin) and Claudio Cacapa (knee), who are two of our injury prone players leaving Newcastle in the summer are set for two to three-week lay-offs, and Joey Barton (knee) and Alan Smith (ankle) are both still out until the end of the month.
But we are hoping that Butt and Enrique will both be fit to start the game, and with presumably Shay Given never wanting to leave Newcastle yesterday, or so we are told, then we expect Joe to name the following starting eleven
Taylor Coloccini Bassong Enrique
Gutierrez Butt Guthrie N’Zogbia
Subs: Harper Edgar Geremi Kadar Duff LuaLua Carroll
We are assuming Joe will prefer N’Zogbia to Duff on the left wing, but you never know.
And we are also assuming Shola Ameobi can start the game up front to give a little height and physical presence to the forward line, which lacks it with Duff and Owen both up there together.
If we forget about the Liverpool game, the way we had been playing before then – we should be able to get through this round and get Newcastle into the hat for the 4th round draw, which will take place tomorrow.
But of course with last week’s below par performance, which seemed to really upset our goalkeeper Shay Given, it’s unclear which team will turn up today at the KC Stadium.
If we perform anywhere like we did last Sunday we will be out of the cup by 5:00 pm today.
The fact that Bassong is back in the back four for Newcastle should help a lot and so should Jose Enrique, as long as he is fully recovered this time, since we seemed to play Enrique and Ameobi last week when both were still injured.
With any lick, we should be able to get a win today, but of course with Newcastle, you just never know.