There is no way Newcastle United will under-estimate Stevenage in any way this afternoon.
If we do, then we may be in for a shock result, and we’re quite sure that’s just exactly what new manager Alan Pardew has been telling his Newcastle players all this week.
It just so happens that Newcastle have suffered quite a few injuries over the last several days, otherwise we think Pardew would field his strongest side possible for this afternoon’s game.
It’s also clear that Pardew wants to target the FA Cup this season, and if Newcastle can steady themselves at the back in defense, then they can be a match for any team in the FA Cup this year.
The Magpies have already shown they can be a very good side this season with some big wins at home against Aston Villa (6-0), Sunderland (5-1) and West Ham (5-0), and some excellent away wins at Arsenal, Everton, West Ham and Wigan.
And with Newcastle fairly safe in the league at the moment in 8th place – although still just 7 points from the relegation zone – Newcastle may be OK in the league this season, but that’s still the number one priority.
For the Stevenage club, this is another huge chance for them to shine as they did back in 1998.
Stevenage drew with Newcastle 1-1 at Stevenage in early 1998, before the Magpies got through by a score of 2-1 at St. James’ Park, but it wasn’t easy, and of course Newcastle reached the final that year, only to be beaten 2-0 by Arsenal.
But that wasn’t enough to save Kenny Dalglish his job, as he was sacked in August of 1998 as Newcastle had finished 13th in the Premier League, and that just wasn’t good enough after Newcastle had finished in second place, in both the previous two seasons.
And Newcastle brought in Ruud Gullit and sexy football, but it wasn’t so sexy, and he lasted but one year before the great Sir Bobby Robson arrived at his home town club.
And Bobby was a terrific manager, as we all know, and took Newcastle back to the European Champions League.
Newcastle have a number of players out injured this afternoon including Steven Taylor, Carroll, Ameobi, Campbell, Gutierrez and Cheick Tiote.
In addition, Steve Harper’s wife is expecting a baby – due to arrive over the weekend – and he will not travel with the side.
So, this is the side we expect Alan Pardew to start this afternoon:
Simpson Williamson Coloccini Enrique
Barton Smith Nolan (c) Ferguson
Subs: Soderberg Perch Kadar Guthrie Ranger Routledge Xisco
That’s not a bad side either, and we have to hope they are at their very best, which they looked to be in the 5-0 mauling of West Ham last time out.
Th keys to this game are for the Newcastle strikers Best and Lovenkrands, to continue to take their chances, which they did against West Ham, but we missed a lot of them against Wigan last weekend.
The defense must be as steady and strong as it has been in the last couple of games, and the lads have kept a clean sheet in both games, and we cannot afford to give away any silly goals to Stevenage.
We’ve already given far too many of those away this season already, and it’s cost the club quite a few points in the Premier League.
We expect Stevenage to play very well today, and don’t expect this game to be an easy one.
But if we can take our chances up front , and if the defense can again give a solid and well disciplined display, we have to stand a very good chance of making it through this afternoon – and at the first attempt.
Let’s know the team you would start for Newcastle this afternoon.
Howay The lads!!