Newcastle only need to draw 0-0, to go through in tonight’s second leg tie against Greek Super League side Atromitos, but we hope the lads can win the game at St. James’ Park, and qualify for the group stages of the Europa League.
It was a tough game last Thursday night in Athens, and Newcastle did well to come back after going 1-0 down in the first half, and it was another Ryan Taylor special just before half time that did the trick.
But Newcastle could have won the game last week, and played essentially a second eleven because of the game at Chelsea less than 48 hours later, which we ended up losing 2-0.
This time our next game is not only one day later on Sunday, but there’s also no travelling to do, so Alan Pardew may play one or two first team players tonight, but probably only from the bench and only if needed in the second half.
Haris Vuckic was not available last week through injury, but we expect him to be given a chance tonight at St. James’ Park, and this is the side Alan Pardew could start against the Greek side:
James Tavernier, Mike Williamson (c), James Perch, Ryan Taylor;
Gabby Obertan, Gael Bigirimana, Vurnon Anita, Sylvain Marveaux;
Papiss Cisse, Haris Vuckic;
Subs: Tim Krul, Davide Santon, Steven Taylor, Dan Gosling, Jonas Gutierrez, Romain Amalfitano, Demba Ba
Last week the Atromitos danger man was Denis Epstein, the goalscorer who played on the left wing, and he gave James Tavernier a hard time of it, so hopefully James will have learned from that experience and will put in a solid perofrmance tonight.
Alan Pardew hinted yesterday that Adam Campbell would not be involved in this game, so we put Demba Ba down as a sub, just in case we need some firepower in the second half.
Newcastle cannot take this game lightly, and it would be a tragedy if we cannot make the group stages of the competition, so Newcastle need to get the job done tonight, come hell or high water.
We think the lads can do that – and then the next step will be to get all 3 points against Aston Villa at St. James Park on Sunday afternoon – and then we’ll be in very good shape for the two week International break.
Howay The Lads!!
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org