I’ve been asked by a few people now about just what the score is with regard to team news for the Darlington friendly this evening.
So to answer those questions I’ve kind of come up with a bi of match preview that isn’t really a match preview if you know what I mean?
I’ll not be going into the usual depth when it comes to a match preview this time around. Basically this is just to let you all know who is fit, who will feature, and, if they aren’t featuring, why not, along with a few other bits and bobs of interest or that may be handy for those who are going or are thinking of going.
Well to start with Joey Barton will feature. He’ll start the game in fact as he is our Captain for the evening in the absence of Fabricio Coloccini who is likely to sit out until the team head to America. Don’t panic, he’s not injured.
James Perch is out as he continues to recover from the ankle problem that ruled him out of action at the back end of last season. I’d write more about that but I’m still trying to decide whether or not James Perch being injured is a good or bad thing.
Cheik Tiote is unlikely to feature as he is apparently “a little short” on fitness. He may get a run out but he’ll not play a major part in proceedings. Xisco is another one who is not really in shape, which is abysmal in all honesty. Does the lad have no self respect? Does he not even want to try and be bothered to get himself in shape and at least try and show a bit of willingness to play football?
The other player missing tonight will be Sylvain Marveaux. He’s missed a lot of football so is not being rushed, but there is nothing wrong with him as such so don’t panic. His leg hasn’t fallen off or anything and it’s purely down to a bit of fitness and a bit more recovery time.
So that is the absentees out the way…… Now onto those who will be playing.
Hatem Ben Arfa is expected to make his first appearance in the black and white for nigh on ten months which will be nice for the travelling fans to see. Mike Williamson is fit again after recovering a month earlier than expected from a broken forearm whilst Dan Gosling looks set to feature for more than the few minutes he managed at the Stadium of Light back in January.
In terms of team selection, debuts will be handed to Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye although it is expected that two different sides will be fielded – one in each half – by Alan Pardew meaning that we should see a good mix of some of the fringe players, youth players, and of course the heavy hitters of the first team.
If you’re going then have a great one. The crowd is expected to be fairly large so if you are looking to go and haven’t yet got a ticket then make sure you get to the ground early to pay on the gate. The game will kick-off at 7:45pm (UK time) regardless so if you aren’t there by then well, tough!
For those who aren’t going, I’ve had a mooch and can’t find any online coverage anywhere so it’s unlikely we’ll get to watch it. Still, it’s early days so it might change.
Howay the lads!