As expected, Tim Krul will be in goal tonight for Newcastle United against Manchester United, and Shola Ameobi has passed a late fitness test, and plays up front with Peter Lovenkrands.
Also back in the team after serving his two game suspension is defensive midfielder Cheick Tiote, and Shola has recovered from his knee problem, but we have to hope the Nigerian survives this game, and isn’t injured before the side plays a crucial game at Blackpool on Saturday.
Shola will be playing without his protective face mask tonight, for the first time since he broke his cheek-bone in early February at Craven Cottage.
Steve Harper has a dodgy knee, and it that didn’t respond to the injection that usually fixes the problem, and we have no idea how long Steve will be out for, but maybe just this one game.
Joey Barton will be the captain again, as Kevin Nolan serves the second game of his two match suspension for receiving 10 yellow cards.
Stephen Ireland is finally included in the squad and takes his place on the bench, and will almost certainly make his debut at some point in the second half, and Danny Guthrie retains his place in central midfield, which the 23 year-old has held in the previous two games.
Michael Owen, the forgotten player of English football and former Newcastle captain, is on the bench for Manchester United, who as expected have fielded a strong side for this game, and it includes Rooney, Giggs, Hernandez and Nani.
Given the players available to manager Alan Pardew, this looks like the strongest side Newcastle can field tonight.
And with the Magpies almost down to the bare bones again, it’s difficult to know how the lads can get anything out of this game, but where’s there’s a will – there’s always a way.
Howay The Lads!!
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique; Joey Barton (c), Cheick Tiote, Danny Guthrie, Jonas Gutierrez; Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands
Subs: Ole Soderberg, James Perch, Steven Taylor, Ryan Taylor, Stephen Ireland, Nile Ranger, Shefki Kuqi
Manchester United (4-4-2): Edwin van der Sar; John O’Shea, Chris Smalling, Nemanja Vidic (c), Patrice Evra; Nani, Michael Carrick, Anderson, Ryan Giggs; Javier Hernandez, Wayne Rooney
Subs: Tomasz Kuszczak, Fabio Da Silva, Jonny Evans, Darron Gibson, Ji-Sung Park, Antonio Valencia, Michael Owen