With Tim Krul out for the rest of the season, and Rob Elliot now nursing an ankle injury, Steve Harper could still have some first team appearances remaining in his Newcastle United career, which at the most has five games to go, since Steve will leave the club in the summer, when his contract runs out.
Steve Harper – could play at the Hawthorns on Saturday
Steven has made 198 appearances for Newcastle since he joined the club twenty years ago from his local club Seaham Red Star in 1993, when Kevin Keegan was the Newcastle manager.
Steve was the understudy to Shay Given until Shay left in the January of 2009, and joined Manchester City, in what turned out to be a relegation season, and Steve was the first team goalkeeper for two and a half seasons after that, until Tim Krul became the number one goalkeeper in the summer of 2011.
Rob Elliot picked up an ankle injury in the 3-0 loss to Sunderland on Sunday, and the former Charlton goalkeeper, who has shown some excellent form this season for Newcastle, will continue to be assessed this week.
But if he cannot make it on Saturday, then Steve will make his 199th appearance for Newcastle United, and if Rob is a longer-term casualty Steve could finally get to 200 appearances for the team.
Harper has been suffering from a long-term knee injury – but he is now fully fit and he had this to say in the Evening Chronicle about his fitness:
“I’m fit now. I can play if needed. But we’ll see what happens.” “I feel good and I feel strong.” “I’ve made seven appearances this year and we only lost against Man United, who are flying at the top of the league and winning it by a mile.”
Steve has ample experience and he will not the side down, and in fact if he does play at West Brom it will be a great opportunity for him to show that he’s still a top goalkeeper, since he wants to keep on playing after he leaves Newcastle.
But we think Rob may still have a chance to play, and we’ll probably learn more at Alan Pardew’s press conference on Thursday afternoon, which should be interesting, given it’s his first one since the shaming by Sunderland on Sunday.
If Rob is not fit then young Jak Alnwick will be on the bench at the Hawthorns, where the lads really have to win – if they are to start paying back the Newcastle fans for that terrible humiliation against Sunderland.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org