It’s surprising to us that after almost making the last two league games with his thigh injury, Joey Barton still remains doubtful for the game at Stoke on Saturday afternoon.
Joey Barton – still a doubt for Saturday?
Both Joey and Jose Enrique are rated doubtful for Saturday’s game, and we’re not surprised about Jose, because it will hard for him to make that game with his hamstring injury.
The good news on the Spanish U21 International is that he should be fit for the game against Wolves at home two weeks on Saturday and for the remaining 7 games after that.
Joey’s injury must be a lot worse than Newcastle had thought if he again misses out on Saturday.
We thought the players were back in training yesterday, but apparently they just returned today, to get ready for the important game against the Potters at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
And Alan may even draft in Sol Campbell for the game, to combat the aerial threat Stoke always seem to pose.
Pardew told the Evening Chronicle today:
“Joey and Jose are still doubts, but Jonas will be OK.” “We’ll wait and see.”
“My gut feeling is that if Joey and Jose aren’t 100%, we won’t risk them.”
Newcastle must be ready for a very physical game against Stoke, and lots of high ball coming into the penalty box, so players like Mike Williamson, who are good in the air, will be vital.
They’ll be training on those all week, and let’s hope they can deal with the bombardment on Saturday.
“Stoke are a different proposition, as they showed at the weekend.”
“We’ve got to be able to compete, and we’ll put a team out to do that – and play our game.”
“We’re going to need all our best players available for the run-in, and we’re working very hard to ensure we have them.”
“I was at the Stoke v West Ham game, and it’s a difficult atmosphere to play in.”
“I’m sure we’ll take plenty of fans ourselves, and they’ll make themselves heard.”
Indeed the Stoke game is all but a sell-out right now.
Alan Pardew has shown himself a good tactician at times, and certainly the way the lads played in our last win at Birmingham, we completely outplayed and out thought (and even out fought) the opposition that day, and we’ll hope for something similar this Saturday.
Newcastle really need a win on Saturday, but we think that will be very difficult, but a draw would be a good result too.
And most teams, including West Ham over the weekend in the FA Cup, seemed to have a problem dealing with Stoke’s tactics, of high balls into the box, long throw-ins from Rory Delap and generally being very dangerous from all set plays.
But that’s the way Stoke play, and they’ve been very successful with those tactics over the last three seasons or so in the Premier League.
What Newcastle need to do is go there with a plan of somehow combating that threat, and finding a way of scoring some goals against the Stoke defense, who are not that strong this season.
Stoke are better at home than they are on the road, but of course they beat Newcastle 2-1 at St. James’ Park, after Newcastle completely dominated the first half and were 1-0 up at the break.
Stoke have won 7 games and drawn three in their 14 home games so far this season, and Stoke are 2 points behind Newcastle right now.
So the very last thing we want is a defeat, but Stoke will also be in confident form, following their fine 2-1 win against West Ham that takes them into the semi-finals of the FA Cup, where they will meet Bolton Wanderers.