With Newcastle seemingly again down to the bare bones for tonight’s game against the Red Devils, it could be that Stephen Ireland will even get a start tonight.
That would taking a chance, since Stephen hasn’t played since last December, and he is really short of match practice, but he is also an experienced player.
It appears he has looked very impressive in training, so Alan Pardew may be tempted to give him a start.
And it seems that Alan Pardew expects Ireland to have an immediate impact on the Newcastle side, as he said today:
“The only worry with Stephen is lack of game action,” “In training he looks terrific but over 90 minutes, I’m not going to know until he goes out there. It’s great to have that option.”
“At Villa last week, to have brought Stephen Ireland on with 10, 15 minutes to go could have turned the game for us into a draw or a win. Without doubt for 20 minutes he can influence the game. How much more he’s got in the locker I don’t know.”
It does seem that Stephen is in the right mind to play tonight, after his girlfriend was injured in a car crash last week.
Aston Villa proved with two wins in just 6 days that any side can quickly climb the league table, and after being 5 points behind Newcastle and in 5th bottom place in the league, they are now one point above the Magpies in 9th place.
So the concern is that some of the bottom four sides start to win games, like Wigan did at Blackpool last weekend.
Newcastle will need at least another 3 points to be safe, and maybe even a few more than that, depending on how the last 5 games of the season go for the bottom sides.