One thing we will know even before the game starts tonight against might Manchester United, is whether Chris Hughton learns from his selection mistakes in the last couple of games.
Mark Viduka – should start tonight
If Shola Ameobi starts tonight, then that will be a bad sign, given that we have a fit Mark Viduka ready to play, and young local lad Andrew Carroll, who has looked very good in his 5 starts this season, is also available.
Both Shola and his strike partner Obafemi Martins struggled to make any impression at all in the 1-0 defeat by Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium on Sunday, and Ameobi seems to go through too many games like a passenger on the team.
The bad news this morning is that acting manager Chris Hughton – who has worked with Ameobi for more than a year now – has come out and defended his contribution to the Newcastle cause.
Hughton told the Shields Gazette this morning:
“I can only speak for what he gives us, and the fact that he’s in the starting XI shows what we think of him in any given game,”
“Players have good games and bad games, blow hot and cold, but the important thing is what he gives us. Certainly, we have no complaints with him.”
“He’s a good professional, and in the time that I’ve been here, it’s been a pleasure. What he does is give us an option.”
“Sometimes that option, and the role he performs, can involve a little bit of sacrifice for the team, but he’ll never shy away from that.”
Shola is nowhere near the quality of Mark Viduka, who we pay some phenomenal wage for visiting the treatment room more often than any other player at the club, and we can hardly blame Mark, when he’s not even selected on the rare occasions he is fit. He wants to play for the team, as he’s said a number of times recently.
And Carroll is a lot better in the air than Ameobi, and could possibly dispatch some of those inviting crosses from Ryan Taylor, and put that ball smack into the back of the net with his head.
But unfortunately Hughton insists Nigeria-born Ameobi’s commitment to the black and white cause, can’t be questioned.
“There will never be a time when he shies away from playing or wanting the ball, and I think that speaks volumes.”
“As a player, it’s about overcoming injuries, or what Shola has to overcome.”
The team is having a bad enough time with injuries, never mind not playing our best players when they are fit. Why are we paying Mark big wages when we don’t even play him when he’s fit?
While we’d love to see Viduka or Carroll start up front, but it looks like Hughton thinks differently, and that’s not good – not good for our chances of doing well tonight.
Comments are welcome.