Newcastle will have see their first action after promotion was made certain on Monday, when they take on Blackpool at home tomorrow afternoon.
And Blackpool was the very first team to beat the Magpies this so successful season, when they deservedly won 2-1 at Bloomfield Road last September, and we expect another hard-fought game tomorrow afternoon.
Newcastle manager Chris Hughton has the luxury of choosing from an almost full squad, with only Steven Taylor and Fitz Hall not available through injury and other calamities.
With promotion now certain, Chris and the players have said this week that their next goal is to win the league and 7 points will certainly give them that, but with the Magpies’ goal difference currently 10 goals better than that of second placed WBA (48 vs 38), we have to believe that two wins will do it, because we don’t see WBA making up that goal difference in their remaining four games.
There are a few reasons why Chris would want to tie up the title quickly, one is just to get to the ultimate goal for this season, but having won the title Chris could then give some of our very promising younger players, like Tamas Kadar, Tim Krul and Nile Ranger some starts.
With Chris being so single-minded we don’t expect anything else tomorrow than the strongest Newcastle side possible starting the game, and that probably was the side that started the game last Monday night.
In that crucial game, the lads beat a good Sheffield United side 2-1, but slept in and only started to play well after half time, when they started to pull the Blades apart, and could and should have had more than just two goals.
So here’s the team we expect tomorrow afternoon:
Simpson Coloccini Williamson Enrique
Routledge Nolan Guthrie Gutierrez
Subs: Krul Kadar Butt Barton Taylor (R) Ameobi Best
Two possible starters tomorrow afternoon could be in-form Joey Barton for Danny Guthrie, and we’d love to see Tamas Kadar (a favorite of ours we know), start alongside either Coloccini or Williamson at the back.
If both Joey and Tamas start, we don’t think that will weaken the side at all, and politically we want to see Kadar given a game, since the last time he played at Doncaster Rovers in the 1-0 win, he was Man of the Match – and he may be getting itchy feet.
But it could be that Chris wll take absolutely no chances until the title is assured for the Tyneside club, and we understand that thinking perfectly.
Confidence has got to be sky high in the Newcastle team, and with two targets to go after – winning the Championship for the first time since 1993 when Kevin Keegan was manager, and keeping an unbeaten home record for the first time since 1907, are two very good reasons why we expect Newcastle to be all business tomorrow afternoon.
Blackpool are in top form too, and are pushing for a play-off position, and the Seasiders have won their last four league games, as have Newcastle, so they are also a team in good form.
But if Newcastle continue to show their tremendous will-to-win and professionalism they have displayed so much this season, we can see another 3 points in the bag tomorrow afternoon, and that’s what we’re hoping for.
Howay The Lads!!