Two Full Backs Back For Benfica?

It seems that left back Massadio Haidara could be back against Benfica on Thursday night in Lisbon, after recovering from the bruising and tissue damage to his knee and thigh he picked up two weeks ago in the game at Wigan.

Massadio Haidara metalist

Haidara in action against Metalist Kharkiv

And Callum McCallum did not get any punishment at all for his knee-high tackle, that referee Mark Halsey didn’t see, and he didn’t even get an admonishment from the FA – nothing.

The FA did see the challenge when they reviewed the video, but then said they could do nothing about it because one of the four officials had seen the tackle.

That’s the English FA for you – avoiding their responsibilities again.

Alan Pardew has said on Thursday in his press conference for yesterday’s 4-0 disaster at Manchester City, that Massadio had half a chance of playing at Benfica,

And the manager has praised his l 20 year-old , when he made his debut deputizing for the injured Davide Santon at Metalist Kharkiv and Pardew said:

“I didn’t expect him to play as resiliently as he did. He did very well defensively but he’s really attack-minded so it wasn’t the perfect scenario for him.”

“Haidara did very well. He’s a left-footer, which gives us a good option because Davide Santon is not naturally a left-footed player.”

The left-back, cost £2M in January for Nancy and he’s looked a very good player for Newcastle in his five appearances.

And last night Alan Pardew said that Davide Santon will definitely be back on Thursday night so that means we could have the two full backs back – but Mathieu Debuchy is still out with his hamstring.

Newcastle need to play better in Lisbon than we did yesterday – but for us the two most important games are the league games at home to Fulham next Sunday and then to local rivals Sunderland a week later.

And Sunderland should have a new manager by then, as they sacked Martin O’Neill last night after they had lost at home 1-0 to Manchester United and had’t won and picked up only 3 points in the last eight league games.

In contrast Newcastle have won four and lost four in our last eight league games, so we have gained 9 points on Sunderland in that time – and it’s the league games since the four Frenchmen arrived in one week in late January.

The bad news is we have now lost three of our last four league games.

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