It seems that the central midfield berth alongside Nicky Butt at the Reebok tomorrow will be between Ryan Taylor, who played the second half there against Everton last Sunday, and Alan Smith, who is fit again following the Achilles injury he picked up last August.
Alan Smith – could start tomorrow in central midfield
And Chris Hughton told nufcTV yesterday:
“Alan Smith is one player who could come in but we do have a few options.”
“Ryan Taylor did very well in there after Kevin Nolan was sent off against Everton, and Geremi also comes into contention.”
In fact Ryan filled in so well in the second half with Nicky Butt, that Newcastle actually looked better in the second half against Everton, than they did in the first half. It’s a strange game this football.
And it showed that Ryan can not only play either full back and either wing position, but also quite well in central midfield.
With Duff and Jonas available for the wings, Chris may be tempted to start Ryan Taylor again alongside Nicky Butt, but we had thought it would be a decent bet that Smudge would start in midfield.
If Smith did win a start it would be an opportunity for him to show what he can do at the club, and would be his first start of the season, and only his second appearance this term.
Of course Alan has just come through six months of difficult rehabilitation, after suffering an Achilles problem during the summer, and he seemed livid when it seemed he was being set up by Dennis Wise to be shipped off to Middlesbrough last month.
To say he doesn’t want to leave Newcastle is an understatement, and tomorrow could be Alan’s big chance.
Coach Hughton continued:
“In Alan Smith we’ve got a wholehearted player who likes to work hard in games and training.”
“That’s probably the side a lot of people don’t see, the real frustration of being out for such a long time when you can’t affect anything. It’s quite monotonous.”
“You come in for training and treatment every day when, really, you want to be out on the training pitch and having an influence.”
So it’s probably between Ryan and Smudge for the starting position alongside Nicky Butt tomorrow, and we’d be very surprised if Geremi is used, since he seems so out of favor these days, following two terrible performances the last two times out.
What do you think?
Comments very welcome.