Assistant manager Chris Hughton recalls Geremi and Alan Smith to the Newcastle United midfield, for the visit of the reigning European and World Club Champions, Manchester United.
Former Man Utd and Leeds United player Alan Smith is starting his first game of the season for Newcastle, having returned from a six-month layoff in January with an Achilles injury.
Nicky Butt, who picked up a knee injury during Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Bolton, is still named as a substitute, while Shola Ameobi drops down to the bench, after an unimpressive display on Sunday. However, neither Viduka nor Carroll replaces him up front.
There is no place even on the bench for Mark Viduka, as Hughton looks to play five across the midfield, with probably Oba Martins the lone striker up front.
It could also be that Lovenkrands will play up front with Martins, to provide more of a goal threat to the excellent Manchester United defense, which has conceded just 11 goals in their 26 league games so far this season.
Steve Harper, the longest serving player at the Tyneside club, and who recently became the number one goalkeeper, captains the Magpies, who will have an unchanged back four as expected, with 18 year-old Kazenga LuaLua also on the bench tonight.
For the Red Devils, goalkeeper Van Der Sar, Ronaldo, Berbatov, Rooney, local Wallsend-born Michael Carrick, and Ferdinand all start, with the bench packed with Anderson, Ryan Giggs, Ben Foster, Paul Scholes, Jonny Evans, Carlos Tevez, and 19 year-old youngster Richard Eckersley
This will certainly be a difficult game for Newcastle, and it looks like Hughton is betting on packing the midfield tonight, and hopefully winning the 50-50 balls.
It’s time for heroes for some of the lads in those famous black and white stripes – that’s for sure.
We’ll be back at the end of the game tonight.
Howay The Lads!!
Newcastle United: Steve Harper (c), Steven Taylor, Jose Enrique, Fabricio Coloccini, Sebastien Bassong, Geremi, Alan Smith, Jonas Gutierrez, Ryan Taylor, Peter Lovenkrands, Oba Martins
Subs: Tim Krul, Claudio Cacapa, David Edgar, Shola Ameobi, Nicky Butt, Andy Carroll, Kazenga LuaLua
Manchester United: Edwin Van der Sar, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney, Ji-Sung Park, Nemanja Vidic, Michael Carrick, John O’Shea, Darren Fletcher
Subs: Anderson, Ryan Giggs, Ben Foster, Paul Scholes, Jonny Evans, Carlos Tevez, Richard Eckersley
Referee: Steve Bennett