Shearer thinks Newcastle will be well served if Mark Viduka can return to the side soon, because he is just excellent at holding the ball up, and allowing players the time to move into more attacking positions.
Mark Viduka – this is what we want to see Monday night
Alan was asked what qualities Mark Viduka can bring to the side, and he said:
“Hold-up play. When the ball goes into him, more often than not, it will stick.”
“That will give our players a chance to get up and support and make runs off him, knowing the ball will stick with him.”
Of course Mark has had another terrible season of injuries and has appeared just 7 times in all this season, with just a single start, and it looks like he will be at best only around 80% fit for Monday’s game, assuming he stays fit in training.
But Alan has more than once talked about how good a player Mark is, and even that he would be willing to consider keeping Mark at Newcastle another season, if he can produce for the club in the final 5 matches of the season, and keep us up.
But the good news is that Viduka once again showed what a good player he can be during the last 30 minutes against Tottenham, where he set up Oba Martrins twice with opportunities that Oba just failed to slot home. In fact Oba had the ball in the net, but it was disallowed – for something.
And when Martins and Viduka were on the field together in those final 30 minutes, Newcastle looked so much more threatening than they had previously in the game.
Shearer is hoping to have all three strikers, including captain Michale Owen, available for Monday night, although whether the manager will start all three in a 4-3-3 formation is not known, since Oba and Mark are hardly 100% fit right now.
Alan said today:
“We want all our big guns fit and certainly, Viduka is, Martins is, Michael Owen is. We want them all fit to give us options.”
“Without doubt, Portsmouth will be a tough nut to crack. Paul Hart has gone in there and done a really good job. They will certainly be a threat from set-pieces.”
“But I believe if we look at ourselves and do it right ourselves, then we will have a big chance.”
It’s a do-or-die game on Monday night, and let’s hope our relegation hopes are still alive at the end of the game.