Newcastle United have an opportunity to get through the final 32 teams in the Europa League tonight, and reach the knockout rounds of the tournament, if we can beat Club Brugge at the Jan Breydel Stadion.
Newcastle are currently top of Group D with seven points from our opening three games, and we have two wins and a draw, and already beaten Bordeaux and Club Brugge at St James’ Park, and drawn with Maritimo in Madeira, in our first game in the group.
In the Premier League this season we’ve drawn half our games with 5 draws from our 10 league games, and we have to push on and make draws into wins, if at all possible in the future.
A draw would be a decent result tonight, but hopefully we will go all out to try to win the game, and Newcastle are almost certain to make wholesale changes to the starting line up tonight, from the team that started at Anfield.
Here’s the squad of 20 that traveled to Brugge yesterday and it seems that Steve Harper is not in the squad, although we were pleased that Xisco is making the trip and hopefully he will get some playing time during the game, and is likely to start on the bench.
Rob Elliot, Tim Krul; Mehdi Abeid, Romain Amalfitano, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi, Vurnon Anita, Gael Bigirimana, Yohan Cabaye, Papiss Cisse, Fabricio Coloccini, Shane Ferguson, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Davide Santon, James Tavernier, Steven Taylor, Cheick Tiote, Mike Williamson, Xisco
Ryan Taylor, Dan Gosling and Haris Vuckic are long-term injuries and Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba and James Perch picked up injuries on Sunday and will not play tonight, although Cabaye is in the squad, and maybe his injury is not too bad.
And out two suspended players Coloccini and Tiote will both start tonight and strengthen the side, so here’s a possible starting eleven tonight along with the 7 substitutes:
Anita Williamson Coloccini (c) Ferguson
Obertan Tiote Bigirimana Ameobi (Sa)
Ameobi (Sh) Cisse
Subs: Krul Tavernier Taylor (S) Marveaux Xisco Amalfitano Cisse
The team above shows 8 changes from the side that started at Liverpool on Sunday.
If Cabaye does start on the bench tonight, then that means he will definitely start the game against West Ham United on Sunday, and could even come on tonight, but only if Newcastle find themselves in trouble.
Xisco scored a hat-trick for Newcastle’s Under-21 side against Stoke last week, and we hope he gets a chance tonight.
Club Brugge have one long-term injury – it’s a collarbone injury to Victor Vasquez that will see him on the sidelines for a couple of months, before he can return to playing.
Brugge manager George Leekens was fired last weekend, and caretaker manager Philippe Clement is short of players, and Philippe has only 18 first team players available to choose from, after Macedonian forward Ivan Trickovski and Israeli Lior Refaelov both failed fitness tests earlier in the week, and will not play tonight.
We want to see Newcastle get a win tonight, but we’ll be happy enough with a draw.
Howay The Lads!!
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org