Newcastle are likely to face a confident Bolton Wanderers side on Saturday afternoon at St. James’ Park.
Shola Ameobi – the man in the mask on Saturday
Bolton are coming off a three game winning streak, having not conceded a goal as they beat Everton 2-0 in the league at home, and then had two 1-0 wins away in the FA Cup against Premier League clubs Wigan and Fulham.
And in all three games they looked a good side and strong in defense.
Bolton have not been too strong away from home in the league this season, and they have gained just 10 points away from home (2W, 4D) and 26 points at the Reebok Stadium (7W 5D), and are one point ahead of Newcastle with an inferior goal difference.
Because of that poor away form, at least in the league, we were hoping it would signal the chance for Newcastle to get their second league win on the trot on Saturday.
But those two away wins, albeit in the FA Cup, may show Bolton are coming into their best form again.
We expect Alan Pardew to field an unchanged side on Saturday from the team that did so well at Birmingham last Tuesday night, even though Steven Taylor and Ryan Taylor are now fit.
Both could have been expected to have played at Whitley Park today for the Reserves against Manchester United, but the game was called off yesterday because of a water-logged pitch.
One key to Saturday’s game is whether our two current first choice strikers Lovenkrands and Best can score goals, but we should also have Shola Ameobi on the bench, with his newly fitted face mask, but whether Alan will risk him will depend on how the game is going.
But sometime in the second half we expect to again see 19 year-old Nile Ranger, who seems to be coming through so well since Andy Carroll moved on for the bigger money at Liverpool.
Andy is supposed to be on the bench for Liverpool on Sunday, when they play at West Ham, and it’s going to be strange to see Andy in red.
But Newcastle have to be in with a very good chance of collecting all 3 points on Saturday and going 2 points clear of the Trotters, and up to at least 8th in the Premier League.
If we can the all important win on Saturday, it will take the team to 38 points, and we’ll be looking up the league in the final 10 games of the season, rather then looking over our shoulders.
Howay The Lads!!