If Newcastle are going to climb away from the relegation zone soon, then the game against Reading is one we have to win today, and Reading are one of only four clubs who are lower down in the league than Newcastle at the moment, so if we cannot get a home win today, there will be more gloom and doom on Tyneside – it’s as simple as that.
Newcastle should have Yohan Cabaye starting for the first time for a long time today, so that should provide a big boost to the side, and Shola Ameobi is available again after serving his one match ban last Saturday for being sent off during the debacle at Brighton two weeks ago.
Alan Pardew started his management career at Reading back in 1999, and he stayed there for four years before joining West Ham United in 2003, and the manager is well aware of how important this game is today for the side:
“It’s an important game for us and Reading.” ”I still think you need that magic 40 points and that will be more than enough. We’re capable of getting that.” ”People talk about a six pointer and all that but this actually is between us two clubs and we can’t hide from that.”
“We need to get that distance between us and then strengthen and all of a sudden we will look a lot more rosy than we do sitting here today.” ”Momentum is very important and Southampton and Reading have picked up some momentum which is a very strong tool to have in the Premier League.”
“You believe you are going to win. Even last week, Reading were 2-0 down with seven or eight minutes to go and end up winning the game 3-2.” ”It was quite rare that would happen but they had the belief to get something out of it and that’s what we need to gain.”
“There are better teams than the one I am managing that have gone down. I could argue that QPR on paper are stronger than ours in terms of depth.” ”I’m not sure about the starting XI but we haven’t had the starting XI out all year. We need to strengthen, our players need to show some discipline and character and I’ve no doubt they will.”
Reading are coming into a bit of form and have won two of their last three games, and what worries us a little is that last season they came from nowhere in the last few months of the season to go on some fantastic runs to win the Championship, and they may be finding some good form at the same time this season.
Steven Taylor should be back in the squad but Ryan Taylor, Haris Vuckic, Danny Simpson, Ben Arfa and Dan Gosling are not available due to injury, and Cheick Tiote is off to play in the African Cup of nations.
Fabricio Coloccini should lead the side out today, but he will be staying at Newcastle through the end of the season, and hopefully Newcastle will put an end to this nonsense about him leaving for San Lorenzo con Monday, when Newcastle officials will meet with Fabricio and come to some decision on the matter.
And in Argentina there is apparently very little talk of his personal problems, and they are talking more about Fabricio returning to play in Argentina again.
So Alan Pardew should be able to pick a strong side today which could look like this
Debuchy Coloccini (c) Williamson Santon
Marveuax Cabaye Anita Gutierrez
Subs: Harper Tavernier Taylor (S) Bigirimana Perch Obertan Ameobi (Sa)
One surprise to that side could be Gael Bigirimana starting for Newcastle, because the 19 year-old powerhouse certainly gives some energy to the side, and we think this lad could be a starter as early as next season on Tyneside – he’s that good.
But that’s a good starting eleven and a decent bench and we think Pardew could play in a 4-4-2 formation with Shola Ameobi being a good foil to Papiss Cisse up fornt, and we think the two strikers can play well together, unlike Demba Ba and Papiss.
It will be the home debut for Mathieu Debuchy and we had hopes that Loic Remy would have been starting too, but he is busy trying to convince people he didn’t sign on at QPR for the money – but he isn’t having too much success with that story, given he didn’t even want to meet with them – until they mentioned the wages they were willing to pay him.
But Hary Redknapp says he didn’t sign for the money.
Newcastle must go all out to win this game today, all out, and a draw wouldn’t be great and if Newcastle are going to take pressure off their long suffering fans – they need to start winning games and climbing the league table – very soon.
Let’s start today – please!
For Reading, Danny Guthrie will be back in Toon, and midfielder Hope Akpan could also start his first match, following his move from Crawley, although striker Jason Roberts (hip) and goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (shoulder) are out injured.
And the game is likely to go ahead although one inch of snow has fallen in Newcastle, and this is what it looked like at 9:00 am local time today.
The pitch has already been cleared of the snow by our excellent groundsmen, and the surrounding areas are all in good condition, thanks to great help from the council.
And two thirds of Newcastle fans expect Newcastle to win today, and if we cannot do that, it will be another disappointing result for the lads and another depressing Saturday evening.
Let’s know how you think this game will go today.
Howay The Lads!!
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org