Competition for places at Newcastle is not more intense than at any other time this season, and that has to be something good for the club.
Mike Williamson – very impressive so far
First of all it’s a vital time in the season, and we need to be able to rest some of our players.
To have other players come in and then play so well that it’s difficult to drop them, has to be delighting manager Chris Hughton.
Hughton rested top players Alan Smith and Fabricio Coloccini on Friday night, and they deserved the rest, but now they come back into contention – maybe – for tomorrow’s game at Derby County.
As far as the strikers go, we now have five, so there’s significant competition to get a start up front.
Local lad Shola Ameobi is pressing for a start, and so is in-form Danish striker Peter Lovenkrands, who scored another brace of opportunist goals last time out – as a sub.
Hughton told the Evening Chronicle today:
“The team is not picking itself like it was early in the season.” “We want competition for places and when anybody comes in we demand certain qualities from them.”
“They have to show the determination and spirit like we did on Friday night against Cardiff.”
“I don’t mind having difficult decisions to make, that has to be a good thing.” “Alan Smith is hoping to be back and Fabricio is doubtful with a slight hamstring.”
“Colo could have played on Friday but we decided as a precautionary measure to leave him out.”
If Coloccin is doubtful with a hamstring injury, then we expect Fitz Hall and the impressive Mike Williamson, both 6’4″ tall, to continue at the heart of Newcastle’s defense, since they looked sure and steady on Friday night.
We know Derby County will be fighting tomorrow night, as through their lives depended on it, and a sold-out crowd is expected at the Pride Park Stadium – so it will not be an easy game.
“They will be lifted by the result they got in their last game at Pride Park against Forest and they will have the belief they can pull off another big result.”
“I’m expecting it to be tough, there will be a full house at Derby and they won’t be making it easy.”
“We’ve got to harden ourselves to that though because this is what it will be like in the run-in from here on in.”
“They will all be difficult because now we are not only looking for the victories to keep us where we want to be, but the factor that every team wants to beat us this season is also still very much against us.”
“It would be great to go there and win.” “What we have to show is the same willingness that we have all season to go out and chalk up wins. I don’t expect Forest and West Brom to lose many games.”
“And if they aren’t losing that means we have to keep on winning enough matches.”
Now that we hear Coloccini is struggling to be fit for tomorrow night, it would be silly to risk him, and we expect Hughton to therefore continue with his new centre-back pairing of Mike Williamson and Fitz Hall.
And of course we also have Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini – hey our squad is starting to look a lot better these days. 😀