Tomorrow’s game at the Hawthorns should see a stronger Newcastle side, both on the field and on the bench, for some time.
Joe has new players Kevin Nolan, Ryan Taylor and Peter Lovenkrands to choose from and in addition we are told returning from injury are Oba Martins, Alan Smith and Mark Viduka, and Joe says all of the latter three will be in the squad tomorrow.
Newcastle have not won in their last 8 games, but that has coincided with another terrible set of injuries, and indeed we are still missing Habib Beye, (a big miss) Michael Owen, Danny Guthrie, Claudio Cacapa (is he ever fit?), loan signing Ignacio Gonzalez, who’s appeared precisely twice this season as a sub, and promising youngster Tamas Kadar, who is back in Hungary after breaking his leg in January.
Jonas Gutierrez, our Argentine winger also is serving a one match ban for receiving 5 yellow cards and is not available.
The Newcastle section at the Hawthorns will have the maximum allowed, as all 1800 tickets have been sold.
And there could be some trouble with the weather with snow being on the ground, but the WBA ground staff say the game will go ahead as long as there is no deterioration in the weather overnight.
The ground has underground heating and playing surface should be OK. Tomorrow’s forecast for Birmingham has it sunny and clear. The 24 hour forecast has it clear from 3:00pm this afternoon, so the game should be on.
This is an important game for Newcastle, but so is every other one this season, but this is rather special since it’s against the team that are currently bottom of the league, and a team that is coming off a 3-1 defeat at Burnley in mid-week in the FA Cup.
A win tomorrow will lighten the spirits of Newcastle fans big time, but a defeat is almost unthinkable.
One interesting facet of the game tomorrow is what the Newcastle team will be what Joe will pick as the starting eleven, and where specifically he will play utility man Ryan Taylor.
Since Jonas is out, it’s likely Joe will plump for Ryan starting on the right wing, with Damien Duff on the other flank, so this is what we see as the team tomorrow:
Taylor (S) Coloccini Bassong Enrique
Taylor (R) Butt Nolan Duff
Subs: Krul Edgar LuaLua Viduka Smith Geremi Ameobi
We’d like to see a Carroll – Martins partnership up front, and we think that’s what Joe will go for, because young Andy Carroll is showing good form.
Joe also wants a settled defense and that back four is probably the best we can put out until Beye returns. Enrique or Steven Taylor of course can be replaced by Ryan Taylor, but Joe may want to use Ryan up front. to get a few goals, especially from his free kicks, and via his long throw-ins.
With the bottom section of the table being so crowded, a win could take us up to 12th in the Premier League, if other results go right for us. But since WBA are just two points behind us on 22 points, a defeat will take WBA above us, something we don’t even want to think about.
In fact we could even be propping up the table depending on other results, but fear can be a great motivator, and we’re sure Joe will let the players know we just have to win tomorrow.
WBA manager Tony Mowbray has yet to decide whether to start new signings Youssouf Mulumbu and Juan Carlos Menseguez in the game. Both players were brought in on loan earlier this week and could make their first-team debuts tomorrow.
But it looks like Mowbray will start both on the bench tomorrow.
West Brom have never beaten Newcastle United in the Premier League, and we don’t want to break that streak tomorrow, that’s for sure.
It’s a great opportunity to break out from the relegation worries, at least as a first step, and we have to go all out for a win. and not sit back and defend, if we happen to get a goal ahead.
It’s certainly going to be a nervous game to watch for most Newcastle fans, that’s for sure.
Howay The Lads!!
Comments very welcome.