Chris Hughton has a fairly healthy squad right now, although Dan Gosling, Steven Taylor, Danny Guthrie and Danny Simpson are still not available because of their long term injuries.
Dan Gosling – not fit until early January
And when those four do get fit, and the last three should be back in two or three weeks time, the competition for places will be even tougher at Newcastle, which has to be a good thing in bringing out the very best from our players.
Chris Hughton talked about his Newcastle squad this morning:.
“We have a competitive squad and at the moment we have a lot of fit players and ones who are pushing hard for a starting role, which is very healthy,” “It’s hard though because unless you have a midweek game you are really working from game to game.”
“Any changes have been made on the back of the last game. I just want a healthy squad pushing for places.” “But I wouldn’t hesitate in using the squad I have got.” /
That last sentence might suggest he’s willing to make some changes to the starting eleven on Sunday, for the tough game at Eastlands.
But most pundits on Tyneside seem to expect Chris to start an unchanged side that started so well in the first half against Stoke City, but then let things slip badly in that second half, when the lads conceded two very poor goals.
Kevin Nolan said yesterday the squad had been working hard at Benton this week, in trying to iron out those errors before the game at Eastlands, where we can hardly afford to give poor goals away.
And it seems that James Perch, who scored an own goal for Stoke with just 5 minutes to play last Sunday, is still expected to be included in the starting line-up against City.
Chris talked about how James Perch was doing this week:
“His confidence is fine,” “He is still developing at this level. It was one of those unfortunate incidents which players go through from time to time. The important thing is he bounces back. He has certainly trained very well.”
And owner Mike Ashley made one of his frequent but fleeting visits to the training grounds at Benton last Wednesday via his helicopter from his base down south, and apparently Mike does that quite often to try to keep involved with the coaches and players at the Newcastle club.
But manager Chris Hughton said that Ashley was not at training on Wednesday for anything else but to keep in contact with the players and the coaches, even though he looked devastated, like the rest of us, at the end of the game on Sunday.
“He often flies in, generally for no specific reason other than wanting to be part of it, watch a bit of training, and meet some of the players,”
It will be a tough game at Eastlands tomorrow, and basically we are expecting nothing out of the game, so that gives the Newcastle players a good opportunity to give us a nice surprise after the huge disappointment of last Sunday in that second half.