Last weekend seemed to be a weekend to forget for Alan Pardew after losing both of his centre-backs to injury. Steven Taylor is out for the season and Fabricio Coloccini is rated as ‘touch and go’ for this afternoons trip to Norwich City.
Pardew’s pre-match press conference dealt further bad news that Danny Guthrie had sustained a groin injury that will see him be out for a period between four to six weeks. With Chiek Tiote nowhere near a return, the Newcastle squad is beginning to look rather bare.
The injuries have come at an unfortunate time in the football calendar; the period where most games are played in one month. This is the month when picking points up is vital for a team to continue their momentum, Pardew’s will not be lost but he must prepare his ‘Geordie heroes’ for the next few weeks and the opposition he will have to come across.
Tiote has been out for several weeks with what is known as a knee injury but the full details of it have not been disclosed. That is the worrying aspect of his injury, if it was something serious it should be put out into the fans knowledge but with no new information surrounding the Ivorian international it suggests that he is going to be out for a long time. There is of course the other factor of an alleged groin injury floating about, so which one is it?
In his absence the forgotten man Danny Guthrie was handed his chance to redeem himself by Alan Pardew. Guthrie has acquitted himself very well whilst finding himself in Alan Pardew’s side and it comes with a big blow for him after having made a successful return from his injuries that he now finds himself on the sidelines yet again.
Many expect Dan Gosling to get a chance against the Canaries, allowing a perfect opportunity for him to take his chance and make his way into the squad for the foreseeable future. The U21 International has had more game time than others on the bench and it will be no surprise to see him in the starting lineup. This is his platform to show to all the fans and Alan Pardew that he is ready to take this chance and make the step up into the first-team.
Another forgotten man is expected to return to the Newcastle fold since his last appearance being in the 4-0 defeat by Arsenal in last season’s Carling Cup tie at St James’ Park. Tamas Kadar has been handed squad number 40, having previously had not squad number attached to his name and the messages coming out of the Newcastle camp that he needed to improve his desire for playing for the club to get back into the first team. This could be his chance to make a name for himself and he certainly has the support of the fans to be started tomorrow.
But the main issue is, can the team take any more hits? With the squad affected by so many injuries in recent weeks, the team looks very bare. Avoiding injuries is key for the next few fixtures, while Coloccini may make a quick return to the side this afternoon, along with Mike Williamson who needs to gain some match fitness and game time before he can return to the fold next week against Swansea, can we afford any more injuries?
The worrying thing would be if Newcastle were to take any more injuries, than Pardew will have a true test of his credentials. But it may not come to that and no doubt the silver haired manager will prepare those coming into the side for the remaining fixtures in December.
There is confidence in the Newcastle camp and the spirit in the way that they play for each other, there’s no denying that and expect I those who take to the field later to give their all for the black and white shirt.