Alan Shearer has made a whopping five changes from the side which was beaten at Spurs, and Joey Barton finally returns to the bench, after three months out with injury.
Dropped are Jonas Gutierrez, Kevin Nolan, Ryan Taylor and Andy Carroll, and Steven Taylor is out with an ankle injury.
Alan Smith, Mark Viduka, Oba Martins, Fabricio Coloccini and Jose Enrique, back from his knee injury, all come into the starting eleven for this crucial game tonight.
Newcastle will indeed play 4-3-3 with Martins, Viduka and Owen up front from the start – as we had hoped for.
This is a brave and seemingly good team choice by Alan Shearer, who has shown more courage in picking his sides, than his team have shown on the field – – up till this game that is.
A three man midfield of Smith, Nicky Butt and Damien Duff will be key and Coloccini comes in at center-back to allow the accomplished Habib Beye to move to right back, and the back four will be Beye Coloccini Bassong and Enrique – a more than decent defense – but we must not have any mistakes tonight.
The subs bench is more than useful – Tim Krul, David Edgar, Danny Guthrie, Joey Barton, Jonas Gutierrez, Peter Lovenkrands and Andy Carroll – and we’ll some of those players playing a part tonight, that’s for sure.
Barton hasn’t played since the 2-1 defeat at former club Man City in January after suffering a broken metatarsal, and Shearer has brough back Fabricio Coloccini to show that he can indeed be a good defender for Newcastle.
Howay The Lads – we need all 3 points tonight.
Newcastle United: Steve Harper, Habib Beye, Jose Enrique, Sebastien Bassong, Fabricio Coloccini, Nicky Butt, Alan Smith, Damien Duff, Oba Martins, Michael Owen (c), Mark Viduka
Subs: Tim Krul, David Edgar, Danny Guthrie, Joey Barton, Jonas Gutierrez, Peter Lovenkrands, Andy Carroll
Portsmouth: David James, Sol Campbell (c), Glen Johnson, Hayden Mullins, Hermann Hreidarsson, Papa Bouba Diop, Sean Davis, Nadir Belhadj, Sylvain Distin, David Nugent, Peter Crouch
Subs: Asmir Begovic, Noe Pamarot, John Utaka, Kanu, Jermaine Pennant, Angelos Basinas, Martin Cranie
Referee: Mike Riley