Alan Pardew is likely to keep his cards very close to his chest before announcing whether Shola Ameobi and Andy Carroll will be fit and ready to play against Sunderland on Sunday.
Andy Carroll – for for Sunday?? – exactly
We think that’s especially true of Carroll, and whether he plays or not we are unlikely to know before the teams are announced around 11:30 am on Sunday.
That would be good thinking by Alan Pardew, who could keep the Sunderland manager in the dark about whether Andy will start.
And we have to think if Shola and Andy both play, they will cause some havoc with the Sunderland central defense, which will not be at their strongest on Sunday – good.
Anyway – we hope they will cause some havoc with the Sunderland central defense.
Apart from local lads Andy and Shola, Alan will also have Peter Lovenkrands, Leon Best and Nile Ranger as possible options up front, but Alan has let everybody know this week that Carroll and Ameobi are currently his two top strikers, and they will start if they are fit, that’s for sure.
We also expect Jonas Gutierrez and Jose Enrique will both be back down the left hand side, and both players were missed at Stevenage, especially Jose, whose fight and spirit could have made a difference on Saturday.
And it seems that Steven Taylor is still in with at least a chance to play on Sunday, despite his hamstring injury, but again we think Alan may keep quiet about whether Steven is expected to start in that game.
Given that Alan was less than pleased that Jose Enrique leaked the fact he was not playing recently via his twitter account, it’s very possible Alan will keep his team selection secret until it’s announced around 30 minutes before kick off at noon on Sunday.
That will keep the enemy guessing, and that’s got to be good.