After two bad away defeats against Nottingham Forest And Scunthorpe, tomorrow’s match against Doncaster Rovers takes on increased significance.
In the four games we’ve been without Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini in central defense we’ve flopped badly, taking a meager 2 points from the possible 12.
The fact the team is still second top, on goal difference, points more to the ineptness of the other teams, more than anything else.
But that should be a signal to the Newcastle players, that they can indeed get promoted this season, and they probably are the best team in the Championship this season.
But they need to show courage and fortitude in the tough times, like we are in at the moment.
On paper tomorrow should be an easy win for Newcastle, because Doncaster have just four draws from their 6 away games this season, and stand 18th in the table.
But on paper Newcastle should beat most teams this season, including Forest and Scunthorpe.
It will help enormously that Newcastle will see the return of Argentine Colcccini back in central defense and that will allow Danny Simpson to move to right back and hopefully Chris Hughton will deploy Ryan Taylor on the right wing – so we have two decent wingers playing wide tomorrow.
The other winger of course being Argentine Jonas Gutierrez, who is wanting to impress for Newcastle after his successes with the Argentine team last week.
We are finding it difficult to score goals so we want to see two strikers up font and we’ll plump for Andy Carroll and Nile Ranger and Marlon Harewood can make a contribution off the bench, in the second half.
Alan Smith is suspended so Nicky Butt will get a rare chance to show what he can do for the side tomorrow, and he will resume his rols as captain with Smith missing.
This is the side we expect Chris Hughton to field tomorrow:
Simpson Coloccini Khizanishvili Enrique
Taylor R. Butt (c) Nolan Gutierrez
Subs: Krul Kadar Guthrie Geremi Harewood Lovenkrands LuaLua
A win will settle everybody down tomorrow, but anything less will continue to send shock waves around the Tyneside area.
The Scunthorpe and Nottingham Forest defeats were bad enough for one week.
And maybe doubts will start to blossom – that our great start to the season was nothing more than a flash in the pan.
That’s why the lads have to come out tomorrow like a steam train in the first minute and attack Doncaster from the off.
If we can do that and maintain the pressure, a much needed win should be the result.