We don’t expect anything out of the game with Manchester United on Tuesday night at St. James’ Park.
Maybe that’s because Newcastle cannot field anywhere near their best team, with all the injuries and suspensions the club has had this year.
Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan will miss the game through suspension and Ben Arfa, Dan Gosling, Leon Best and Alan Smith are all out with injuries, although Gosling is back in training since last Wednesday, which is some very good news.
With three defeats in the last 4 games , and only 4 points out of the last 5 games, Newcastle have not been in good form of late, and if they are to get anything out of this game, that form will have to improve dramatically.
Tomorrow will also be a test of just how much manager Alan Pardew can inspire his troops, for what looks like a very tough game against an in-form Manchester United.
Shola Ameobi is again dogged with a niggly little injury, this time to his to his knee, that could keep him out of this game, after his knee swelled up just before the Aston Villa game, which ended in a rather woeful 1-0 defeat.
While the scan taken last Monday showed no damage to Shola’s knee, he’s still not 100% fit – yet – so it’s a good question as to who will start up front with Peter Lovenkrands, after the inexperienced Nile Ranger managed to disappear in the second half at Villa Park.
Alan Pardew has said today that Shefki Kuqi is not good enough to start for Newcastle, but if Shola misses the game, Shefki could still be the best option for the second striker position, and we’re going to assume Shola will not make this game.
Far better that Ameobi be fit for the game at Blackpool on Saturday, than start him tomorrow night, and have him then miss the Bloomfield Road game.
The good news is that Ryan Taylor is back from his suspension and could play a part tomorrow night, and Stephen Ireland is now fit and very keen to show what he can do for the Newcastle club. But of course with his girlfriend badly injured last week in a car crash he probably will not even be on the bench.
The other good news is that Cheick Tiote returns from his two match suspension, and that’s really good news.
We still think that Ryan Taylor out on the right wing and Joey Barton in central midfield would be the best option for Newcastle’s midfield, so this is the side we ‘d like to see start tomorrow night:
Simpson Coloccini Williamson Enrique
Taylor (R) Barton (c) Tiote Gutierrez
Subs: Krul Taylor (S) Campbell Ferguson Perch Guthrie Ranger
That’s a much stronger bench than last time out, and it may be a bit early to include 21 year-old midfielder Gosling there, but he’s back in training now and should be available to play for the first team very shortly.
If Shola doesn’t make it tomorrow night, we’re not sure who Pardew will pick up front for the second striker position alongside Lovenkrands, other than to give Kuqi a start, but we’ll know soon enough.
We hope we don’t get any more strange looking Alan Pardew selections, like we saw at Villa Park, where too many players were played out of position, for no good reason.
And surely Pardew will start that back four – Simpson Coloccini Williamson Enrique – even though it means Steven Taylor will start on the bench.
The keys to the game are that Newcastle have to play a lot better than they have done over the last 5 games, since they had that great 2-0 win on the road at Birmingham City.
Two huge players for Newcastle tomorrow night will be Tiote and Barton, hopefully paired in central midfield, and with this side, Newcastle could even have a chance, if only somebody can score the goals, given that both Best and Ameobi are missing.
The defense also needs to be at its very best at all times, with both Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs returning for the Red Devils. Oh my.
And finally, the Newcastle crowd can spur on the lads to play way above themselves, and maybe if that happens, then Newcastle can get another famous victory this season against a top four side.
Howay The Lads!!
Comments very welcome.