It’s a fact that Mark Viduka just hasn’t played enough games for Newcastle in his 18 months at the club, and Alan Smith has been nowhere near his best form during the same time period.
Mark Viduka – pressing for place at Bolton tomorrow
Newcastle Assistant Manager Chris Hughton talked about the now fit Mark Viduka today:
“He hasn’t played the amount of games we or he would have liked but we know what Mark’s strengths are,”
“The contract issues are done at a different level to myself but I always expect to see players motivated and Mark has been a good player here.”
“When I arrived last season he served the club very well right through to the end of the season.”
“Unfortunately for him he has missed a lot of this season through injury and I would have thought he would be doubly determined to do well from now through to the end of the campaign.”
“With Mark there are two issues. He has the contract to sort out, but probably a bigger problem than that is that he has missed a lot of football.”
“When that happens you become desperate to play, and that is where I see him at the moment.”
Way back in the 2002-03 season Mark Viduka and Alan Smith formed more than a decent strike partnership at Leeds United, but in the last several years Mark has had a number of different injuries and has missed lots of games at both Middlesbrough and Newcastle.
His latest injury of many, was his groin problem, and that had followed his almost 6 months out with an Achilles problem he had from last May, and it failed to heal, as expected, during the summer months.
Mark has had 22 starts and 11 substitute appearances (33 total appearances) at Newcastle, and Smith has had 30 starts and 8 substitute appearances (38 total appearances) since they were signed in the summer of 2007. Hardly a good record for either player.
Smith, a striker, is still looking for his first league goal in more than three years, and only last week he made his first appearance of the season, as a substitute in last Sunday’s goalless draw with Everton.
The 28-year-old, who was a £6M signing from Manchester United, has played in a variety of positions, and Hughton may start him in central midfield for tomorrow’s important game at Bolton, in place of the suspended Kevin Nolan.
“Alan is doing is everything possible to re-capture the form that he showed down at Leeds,”
“He hasn’t suffered from a lack of confidence, it’s more to do with frustration.”
“But that’s normal when you’ve got a whole-hearted player like him and he’s prepared to do everything right in his preparation and training to get back in there.”
“It’s been frustrating for him that he hasn’t been able to spend as much time on the pitch as he would have liked.”
“But once he’s out on the training pitch he’s not someone that lacks confidence and he’s a good personality to have around, certainly at a time like this when we know it is still going to be fight through to the end of the season.”
Mark Viduka must also be in contention to start at Bolton, as Shola Ameobi did not look good last week against Everton, and it would be good to see a Martins-Viduka strike force tomorrow.
There is likely to be quite a clear-out this summer at Newcastle, and we would really be surprised if either Alan or Mark are still at the club come September, because they are just not worth the high wages Newcastle are paying them.
It’s as simple as that.