Newcastle manager Alan Shearer makes as many as five changes to the side which was well beaten at Liverpool last weekend with captain Michael Owen and local lad, Steven Taylor in the starting line-up.
Owen will start alongside former Boro striker Mark Viduka up front, and Taylor replaces Fabricio Coloccini in central defense, as expected.
The three other changes come in the middle with Kevin Nolan, Danny Guthrie and Jonas Gutierrez replacing Peter Lovenkrands, Joey Barton (suspended) and Alan Smith (thigh).
It looks like it’s a 4-4-2 formation with Danny Guthrie out on the right and Gutierrez on the left, with Nolan and Butt in central midfield. Of course Danny can also play in the center, depending on how the game goes, and he can alternate with Nolan, whom he played alongside at Bolton last season.
18 year-old Kazenga LuaLua returns to the bench, after a loan spell at Doncaster Rovers, and maybe the lad can come on and get a goal for us later in the game – if he does he’ll be a hero for sure.
The bench is strong and includes – Oba Martins, Fabricio Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Peter Lovenkrands, Kazenga LuaLua, Andy Carroll and Tim Krul so Alan can change the match if he needs to – depending on how it goes.
This is a game we must win, or else the Championship beckons next season.
We’ll be back after the game.
HOWAY THE LADS!!
Newcastle United: Steve Harper, Habib Beye, Damien Duff, Steven Taylor, Sebastien Bassong, Nicky Butt, Kevin Nolan, Jonas Gutierrez, Danny Guthrie, Michael Owen (c), Mark Viduka
Subs: Oba Martins, Fabricio Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Peter Lovenkrands, Kazenga LuaLua, Andy Carroll, Tim Krul
Middlesbrough: Brad Jones, Justin Hoyte, Andrew Taylor, Gary O’Neil, Marvin Emnes, Afonso Alves, Robert Huth, Mohamed Shawky, Tuncay Sanli, Stewart Downing, Matthew Bates
Subs: Ross Turnbull, Jeremie Aliadiere, Marlon King, Julio Arca, Adam Johnson, Tony McMahon, Jonathan Grounds