Good news today that both Shola Ameobi and Stephen Ireland trained with the first team squad yesterday, and both seemed to come through the session well.
Shola Ameobi – trained well yesterday in his face mask
Shola has been getting used to the face mask that was specially designed for him in Detroit, and he could well play a part in the next game, which is at home on Saturday to Everton.
The Toffees were surprisingly eliminated from the FA Cup last night 1-0, at home to Reading, and they were booed off the pitch at the end of the game, as they again showed how inconsistent they can be this season.
Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands have done more than a decent job over these last few games as the two strikers, but Alan Pardew seems a big admirer of 29 year-old Shola, who made his debut for Newcastle back in 2000, when Bobby Robson was manager at the club.
This is what Alan said about Shola today:
“Shola has trained with the rest of the group for the first time and so has Stephen Ireland, but we’ll not make a final decision on whether they are able to play some part against Everton until Thursday.”
“It is looking good, though, and both have reacted positively in training. “Shola has had a week with the mask, just getting used to it. There was no point getting him to wear the mask, ask him to play and he wasn’t comfortable with it.”
“He has to have that confidence it is going to protect him so he can throw himself around as usual.” “The guy who has designed the mask has done so loads of times before with basketball players and that is a far more risky sport when it comes to elbows in the face and injuries like this.”
“But Shola still had to try it out, he’s done that now and it would be great to have him involved at the weekend.” “I’ll have to have a chat with him on Thursday, check he is comfortable and ask him whether he wants to play. I’m pretty sure he will, but it has to be his decision.”
I’m a big admirer of Shola, he’s a very good player and he will give us an extra physical presence.” “I’m not sure he gets the credit he deserves sometimes, but he has done really well for me in the games he has played since I became manager, and it will give us an extra dimension to our play if he is fit and available.”
We would think that Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands will again start the game against Everton, and that Shola will be used as a substitute, to the omission of Shefki Kuqi, who may not see much first team action from now on this season.
But David Moyes will have blasted his team after last night’s poor showing, and he will want to see a good reaction at St. James’ Park, so it will not be an easy game, and we’re not expecting one either.