Newcastle have recently had Steve Taylor finally return from injury and while he played well last week with little threat from West Brom, he was exposed by Chelsea yesterday and did not have a good first half – although not many Newcastle players did have a good first half yesterday.
Jack Colback is back fit again and he came on in the second half for Gini Wijnaldum after Steve McClaren had decided to go into damage limitation mode.
Papiss Cisse fit again – can he get the goals for us?
It’s a good job that’s not what Alan Pardew did in February five years ago when we were 4-0 down to Arsenal and came storing back with four goals in the last 26 minutes to get that famous 4-4 draw – which was news around the world.
Newcastle will go to La Manga in Spain this week for some warm weather training and maybe some mental exercises too, so some of our players can toughen up some of our players who don’t seem to turn up for tough away games.
The Chronicle is reporting that McClaren is hoping to have Paul Dummett, Gabriel Obertan, Massadio Haidara, Vurnon Anita and Papiss Cisse all fit for the next game on March 2nd at Stoke City, which is another massive game for us followed three days later by a home game against fellow strugglers Bournemouth.
We also wonder what the status of Chancel Mbemba, Siem de Jong and Kevin Mbabu is – and whether they could be fit for the game on 2nd March too.
Mbemba was touch and go but should be fit for the Bournemouth game.
The return of all those players will both add competition for places and also give Steve McClaren some new options and at least we should have a much stronger bench, always assuming we can keep the players fit.
And maybe Jack Colback could slot in at left back when Mbemba is fit again and we could have a backline of Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini and Colback?
In any case it should be a lift to have so many players come back for the final 12 games of the season – and we reckon we need about 16 points at least to survive the drop this season.
It could be touch and go but at least some good news for us today that Villa were hammered 6-0 at home by Liverpool and we play at Villa Park in the second last game of the season on 7th May
Villa even now have an inferior goal difference to Newcastle, so they are looking doomed – so two more clubs to take the drop with them.
What do you think?