This is the news we didn’t want to hear today – that Michael Owen is missing from today’s line-up – after picking up a groin strain in training on Friday.
So Alan Shearer makes the one forced change to the side which beat Middlesbrough 3-1 on Monday night, with Oba Martins coming in for Owen.
We can only assume Oba is fit enough, and maybe Lovenkrands and Carroll can replace him if he feels his groin too much during the game.
In fact we’re a little surprised Alan didn’t go with Peter Lovenkrands to start, and bring in Oba in as an impact substitute in the second half. We assume Oba is feeling OK about his groin, which would be good.
Shola Ameobi is brought in as a substitute.
Nicky Butt will be captain of the side this afternoon, as he continues in midfield alongside Kevin Nolan, Jonas Gutierrez and Danny Guthrie.
Habib Beye, Sebastien Bassong, Steven Taylor and Damien Duff form a flat back four – the same defense that played so well on Monday night.
Former Newcastle favorite and Academy graduate, Aaron Hughes, starts for Fulham at center-back.
Howard Webb is the referee, and let’s hope he doesn’t do anything stupid in the game.
This is again do or die for Newcastle United – a win would be fantastic and a defeat would be just too hard to take.
We’ll be back after the game, and let’s hope the lads play this game as though their lives depended on winning it – and hopefully if they do that – it should be enough.
Whatever the Hull City result today at Bolton, a Newcastle win would be fabulous.
Howay The Lads!!
Newcastle United: Steve Harper, Habib Beye, Steven Taylor, Sebastien Bassong, Damien Duff, Nicky Butt (c), Kevin Nolan, Danny Guthrie, Jonas Gutierrez, Mark Viduka, Oba Martins
Subs: Fabricio Coloccini, Tim Krul, Ryan Taylor, Alan Smith, Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands, Andy Carroll
Fulham: Mark Schwarzer, Paul Konchesky, John Pantsil, Brede Hangeland, Erik Nevland, Zoltan Gera, Danny Murphy (c), Diomansy Kamara, Aaron Hughes, Dickson Etuhu, Clint Dempsey
Subs: Pascal Zuberbuhler, Andy Johnson, Bobby Zamora, Olivier Dacourt, Julian Gray, Toni Kallio, Chris Baird
Referee: Howard Webb