Newcastle are in a bit of a slump at the moment with two successive home defeats and only one point from the last three games in the league, and we have lost three of our last four league games at home, and the only one we didn’t lose was the rather fortuitous win against West Brom, when we scored a fluke goal in the last minute of the game.
But when things are not going well there’s always an opportunity to pull out of the slump, and tonight’s game against Maritimo presents just such an opportunity for Newcastle.
We are doing very well in the Europa league Group D, and are currently leading our group of four.
Newcastle again have an important game at Southampton in the league on Sunday, so Alan Pardew is expected to make lots of changes from the side that started in the 2-1 defeat against Swansea on Sunday afternoon.
The good news is that Coloccini is available for this game, but not the game on Sunday, which will be the third game the Argentine will miss in the league, after being sent off at Liverpool.
Papiss Cisse will start tonight, after the bizarre set of circumstances on Sunday, when he was prevented from playing after Senegal activated the five day rule, because their captain didn’t travel to Niger for their meaningless friendly game last Wednesday.
And Jonas Gutierrez is fit again, and could return to the starting line up tonight.
Yohan Cabaye is out injured and will soon have a minor operation on his groin and Ryan Taylor, Haris Vuckic and Dan Gosling have long term injuries, and Cheick Tiote is suspended for this game.
James Perch is also still out with his thigh injury, and Shola Ameobi is a doubt with a slight groin injury, and it seems Gabby Obertan has a toe injury and will not play tonight.
So you can see we have lots of players not available to play tonight.
We assume Shola is not fit and maybe this is the side that Alan Pardew will play tonight:
Tavernier Coloccini (c) Williamson Ferguson
Ameobi (Sa) Anita Gutierrez Bigirimana Marveaux
Subs: Elliot Simpson Santon Taylor (S) Ben Arfa Ba Amalfitano
Some changes to that side could be that Elliot starts in goal, and we’re not sure what’s the matter with Steve Harper at the moment, who hasn’t been in the squad for the last several games.
That’s also a strong bench in case the game is not going for us in the second half, and Alan Pardew can bring in some of our big guns.
Alan Pardew in training with the squad this week
Maritimo are without injured Brazilian midfielder Olberdam Serra and their top play-maker Heldon Ramos, but Ricardo Ferreira, Briguel, Valentin Roberge, Rafael Miranda, Joao Luiz and Leocisio Sami will all return to the side, after they were rested in the game last weekend.
A win is what we’d all like to see tonight, and it’s certainly possible, although our squad is decimated at the moment.
Let is know how you think the game will go tonight:
Howay The Lads!!
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org