After Newcastle’s dismal showing on Sunday afternoon, and Andy Carroll’s performance last night, where the Liverpool striker looked far too good for Manchester City, it’s hard to find any good news about Newcastle today.
Stephen Ireland – ready to make debut?
But Stephen Ireland seems ready to make his debut for Newcastle next Tuesday night against the Red Devils, and that could be good news for Newcastle fans.
Stephen joined Newcastle on loan on the fateful day that Newcastle sold Andy Carroll to Liverpool, and that transfer upset most Newcastle fans and most of the Newcastle players too, it seems.
Stephen came in on loan with a knee injury and once that was put right, he then suffered a thigh problem, but now he’s fit and will probably find a place on the bench next Tuesday evening.
Ireland has not had a good time of things over the last 16 months or so, and didn’t see eye to eye with either of his last two managers, Roberto Mancini at Manchester City and Gerrard Houllier at Aston Villa.
Stephen was fit enough to play on Sunday, but of course the terms of the loan agreement prevent him from playing against his own club.
Maybe Newcastle are the only club not to put that in a loan agreement, when back in March 2004, Lomana LuaLua was on loan at Portsmouth from Newcastle at the time, and equalized for Portsmouth at Fratton Park with just one minute to go, and denied Newcastle two points, after they had been leading 1-0.
You really cannot make this stuff up.
That could only happen at Newcastle, but hopefully they are a lot wiser these days – maybe – but we’ll see come the summer transfer window, and how many good players they can bring in with the Andy Carroll money.
After seeing Andy look so great last night, with two good goals from half chances, they had better be very very good.
Stephen Ireland only started eight games at Villa Park and made a total of 12 appearances, so he has something to prove at Newcastle, if the Magpies are going to sign the Irish International full time in the summer, for a fee of around £8M.
In our poll on whether Newcastle should sign the player, 46% say no, 29% say yes, and a whopping 25% are not sure, and that’s understandable since he hasn’t kicked a ball yet for Newcastle, even though he signed the loan deal 10 weeks ago yesterday.
Midfielder Cheick Tiote will be back from his second three match suspension, in his first season in the Premier League, and there is hope that Shola Ameobi will return after a swollen knee had him miss the dismal 1-0 defeat at Villa Park last Sunday.
Phil Airey scored two goals for the Reserves last night at Blackburn, when the lads came back brilliantly from 3-1 down to draw the game 4-4, in what was an end-to-end and exciting game, but whether that will get the 19 year-old a place on the bench next week, we don’t know.
It would be very good if Tiote, Ireland and Ameobi are all ready to play against Manchester United next Tuesday, because on recent form, with three bad defeats out of the last four games, Newcastle will have to be somewhere near their best to get anything out of this game.