Newcastle now have two testing friendlies as the final two steps in getting ready for the visit of Arsenal in two weeks time.
John Carver – Leeds will be a good test
Newcastle will face Leeds United at Elland Road tomorrow afternoon, and then Newcastle will host Italian side Fiorentina next Saturday afternoon at St. James’ Park, in the final preparation game for the visit of Arsenal the following weekend.
John Carver talked to the Journal this morning, about what the coaches look for in pre-season:
“When you’re planning pre-season you’re looking for progress with every game; this certainly gives us the perfect build-up following the trip to America,”
“A game at Elland Road with a great home crowd, a decent away following and good opposition will be a real test and – although it’s up to the manager – I’m sure you’ll see a team that is closer to the one that starts against Arsenal.”
“We’ve got a few important players coming back in. Yohan Cabaye trained with the reserves on Friday, as did Ryan Taylor and Joey Barton, Mike Williamson, Danny Simpson and James Perch will all be back too.”
“The only real absences will be Cheick Tiote, who is sorting out his visa in Ghana, Ben Arfa, Shane Ferguson and Danny Guthrie.” “I think you’ll probably get more of an idea of where we are in pre-season after this game. It’s a perfect test for us really.”
“Alan Smith’s had quite a bit of playing time in pre-season and he will be involved I’m sure,” “Obviously it’s up to the manager but I can’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be.”
John mentions Alan Smith because the 30 year-old is likely to get a rough reception from the Leeds fans tomorrow.
That’s because Alan left his home town club in 2004, after Leeds were relegated, and joined Manchester United, who at the time were bitter rivals of Leeds.
What made it harder to take for the fans, was that Alan had often said he would never ever play for Manchester United.
It seems that fans have long memories and don’t like their players leaving the club, especially when they are local lads.
And that’s when it’s not often even their choice, and in today’s football world of big business, relegated clubs have to unload their top wage earners, if they are to stay above water with the finances.
That’s exactly what’s happening at Chris Hughton’s Birmingham City right now.