Andy Carroll is in the starting eleven tonight at the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster for tonight’s important game.
But Chris Hughton still makes three changes to the side which drew at Bristol City 2-2 on Saturday, with the surprise inclusion of captain Nicky Butt and utility player Ryan Taylor, who both get starts.
As expected, Tamas Kadar is also handed a start in central defense alongside Fabricio Coloccini, and this is the Hungarian’s 8th start and 15th appearance for the Magpies.
Ryan Taylor comes in for Jose Enrique, with the Spaniard named among the substitutes – and we have to wonder if Jose’s hamstring is again worrying him.
Chris will want his strongest possible side out next Monday night against Nottingham Forest, which could be why the Spaniard is rested tonight. Danny Simpson and Fabricio Coloccini complete the back four.
There is no Leon Best in the side which suggests Hughton will play a 4-5-1 formation with Nolan playing just behind front man Andy Carroll.
The defense has been giving away too many goals recently, and this seems an attempt to batten down the hatches against an in-form side, and we’ll have to hope that players like Carroll, Nolan and Guthrie, not to mention Jonas Gutierrez, can get some goals tonight.
Mike Williamson, who has been training with a cast on his broken hand, is not included on the substitutes bench, and as expected young Ben Tozer is there in case we have any defensive injuries.
At the moment we have Mike, as well as Fitz Hall and Steven Taylor out injured, but hopefully Williamson will be available for Monday night’s titanic game against Nottingham Forest.
And finally Joey Barton indeed returns to the Newcastle bench for the first time since September, and could well be given a run-out sometime in the second half.
Howay The Lads!!
Doncaster: Neil Sullivan, James Hayter, Gareth Roberts (c), John Oster, James Chambers, Martin Woods, Shelton Martis, James O’Connor, Bill Sharp, Dean Shiels, Mark Wilson
Subs: Ben Smith, Jordan Mutch, Jay Emmanuel Thomas, Sam Hird, John Spicer, Adam Lockwood, Sean McDaid
Newcastle United: Steve Harper, Ryan Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Tamas Kadar, Danny Simpson, Wayne Routledge, Nicky Butt (c), Danny Guthrie, Jonas Gutierrez, Kevin Nolan, Andy Carroll
Subs: Tim Krul, Jose Enrique, Joey Barton, Leon Best, Fabrice Pancrate, Nile Ranger, Ben Tozer
Referee: Keith Hill