We had thought bringing in Fitz Hall on a loan deal in January was a bit of overkill, given that we already had Williamson, Coloccini and Tamas Kadar available to play in the center of defense.
Fitz Hall – will get plenty of playing time now
But it just shows you can never have a strong enough squad, and with Mike Williamson now out for 4 weeks, and Steven Taylor still at least 4 weeks away from a return, the football wisdom of Chris Hughton has shone through – and not for the first time this season.
Fitz did OK in the heart of Newcastle’s defense on Saturday, and it looks like he will now get ample playing time to show what he can do for Newcastle.
There are 8 Championship league games before the middle of next month, so the 6’4″ Fitz Hall now becomes an important player for Newcastle, as the lads fight for their fair share of those 24 points, before Taylor and Williamson become available again. Indeed both may not even make it back before the end of the season.
There are only 11 league games left in total for the season, with the Championship coming to an end in the first Sunday of May.
Certainly Fitz was very happy to get a game on Saturday and he talked about it all today:.
“Mike got an injury, so I was happy to play – I felt I did all right.” “I hadn’t played for a few games, so it was just a matter of fitness and having to go again after the last run of games.”
“Hopefully, I can stick in the team a little longer this time.” “Obviously, you always want to play, but there’s a job to be done here at Newcastle – getting promoted – and if the team are playing as well as they have been.”
“You can’t really change the team, especially the back four when they’re keeping clean sheets.” “Mike’s been unlucky and got an injury, and I just want to take advantage of his misfortune and maybe stick in there as long as I can.”
And Hall, like most of the players, and certainly the 3600 Geordie fans at the Riverside Stadium, were more than relieved when Andy Carroll scored an opportunist goal, just 8 minutes from the end of the game.
It looked like Middlesbrough were playing some of their best football of the season, and gave a weakened Newcastle defense all they could handle, but it was the guts and pride of these Newcastle players that was again on show in the second half, as they finally rescued a point.
“When we got the equaliser it was the first thing I thought about – I was happy for the supporters.”
“They kept their heads up, and that helped us keep going. I felt the atmosphere before the game. The crowd were loud.”
“Wherever we’ve been this season, the fans have made it a good atmosphere, but it was a little bit different.” “The travelling support have been tremendous.”
“I didn’t expect any less with the atmosphere.”
Fitz will have to play really well in the last part of the season, if he is to stand any chance of making his loan move to Newcastle a permanent one.
We don’t think that will happen, but that’s not to say we don’t want Fitz to play great for the Tyneside club, and we’re sure he’ll do his very best.
He seems a good honest lad, from the comments he made today, and there’s no doubt he is now an important player during Newcastle’s final push for promotion.