If Joey Barton is not fit for tomorrow’s game, we expect Newcastle to field an unchanged side from the one that beat Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 on Wednesday night at St. James’ Park.
20 year-old striker Andy Carroll went off in that match, but Chris Hughton said the injury was slight, and we hope Andy is fit enough to play, as his partnership with Ameobi is starting to look effective.
If Andy doesn’t make it, it could be the first start of the season for Spanish U21 striker Xisco.
Nicky Butt is fit again this week for the first time this season, but it’s hard to see why Chris Hughton would break up a successful central midfield of Nolan and stand-in captain Smith.
Although havinf said that, we will need to use our substitutes, with a rush of games coming in the next couple of weeks.
There was certainly signs of tired legs in the second half last Wednesday night, and that’s one reason we have to use our substitutes in an attempt to win the game, which will not be easy, against a good Palace side.
Danny Guthrie is fit again, but we expect him to again take his place on the bench, and he could well get a start in the Carling Cup next Wednesday against Huddersfield at home.
So here’s the side we think Chris will select, assuming Barton is not fit and Carroll is.
Simpson Taylor S. Coloccini Enrique
Taylor R Smith (c) Nolan Gutierrez
Subs: Krul Kadar Butt Guthrie Geremi LuaLua Xisco
Crystal Palace and former Sheffield United boss, Neil Warnock, may also be tempted to name an unchanged side for Saturday.
The Eagles are still without striker Stern John, who was injured just half an hour into his debut, in the opening game of the season two weeks ago.
19 year-old Freddie Sears – on loan from West Ham – is still looking for his first Palace goal, and Alan Lee will continue in attack.
Darren Ambrose, the former Newcastle player who was signed by Bobby Robson from his old team Ipswich, scored twice in Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Ipswich.
The bottom line for Newcastle in this game, is to get another win, but Crystal Palace will provide a stern test.
Howay The Lads!!