Newcastle v Birmingham match preview: top 10 finish in Pardew’s sights

Premier League table 2011-05-06

Pardew wants a top 10 finish

Birmingham City are the visitors at St James’ Park on Saturday, where Newcastle United will be keen to go after all 3 points and try for a top 10 finish.

Birmingham are 3 places, 2 points and 15 goals worth of difference behind us in the league with them occupying 15th place against our 12th place.

They’re also just 3 places and 4 points above the relegation zone, although personally I think they’ll survive.

If we can take all 3 points and Stoke and West Brom have poor results we can sneak into 10th which, judging by his recent comments, is now Alan Pardew’s aim for the remaining 3 games.

Mike Williamson Injured – Steven Taylor In

Of course, thanks to a recent training ground mishap, Mike Williamson won’t be partnering Coloccini in his usual place in central defence. This means a return for Steven Taylor, about whom Pardew said:

Steve had a fantastic younger part of his career and then he’s hit a bit of levelling-off when he’s not gone forward or backwards. That can be dangerous for a player. He needs to get his career moving in the right direction again.

He’s a young centre-half with tremendous qualities and he must have the mentality to use those.

He was a bit unfortunate when he first came back into the team because he ended up playing in a couple of positions that weren’t his favoured one. I wanted to see what he could offer at right-back but now he’s back playing in his natural position.

We’ve changed his training programme and his diet because he was getting too muscular on top. We’ve tried to slim him down a little bit and he looks better for that. He looks quicker.

Steve’s got the technical ability to become an England player but to do that, you’ve got to be fit every week. Unfortunately his fitness and injuries have been a big issue and probably one of the reasons he’s flattened out.

Ah, so it was Taylor’s job to eat all the pies after Mark Viduka left. I did wonder. Still, it seems we should now be seeing a slimmed down mean machine on Saturday.

Further to Thump’s report about Williamson’s injury, Pardew has been more specific about how it occurred. Pardew said:

He was doing a pull-up that went wrong and broke the bone in the top of his arm. It wasn’t as if he was messing around. In fact, he was being supervised and was just unlucky.

Quite bizarre.

Teams

It looks as if we’ll most like have a starting XI along the lines of: Tim Krul (or Steve Harper), Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Joey Barton, Cheik Tiote, Kevin Nolan, Jonas Gutierrez, Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands.

Birmingham will probably line up something like: Ben Foster, Stephen Carr, Roger Johnson, Martin Jiranek, Liam Ridgewell, Sebastian Larsson, Barry Ferguson, David Bentley/Keith Fahey, Lee Bowyer, Kevin Phillips and Cameron Jerome.

Craig Gardner (suspended) and Nikola Zigic (who is currently injured) are Birmingham’s top scorers with 9 and 8 goals respectively.

Pardew’s Assessment

Pardew’s assessment of Birmingham goes as follows:

Birmingham are a side right in the scrap and that is part of their game. They don’t make anything easy for you, and for us it is a very important game. We go into it on the back of Liverpool and need to put a performance in where we show we are committed in these last three games.

After beating Birmingham 2-0 at St Andrew’s we’ll be looking to do the double over them and, whilst I think we’re perfectly safe now anyway, another 3 points should dispel the fears of even the most ardent of relegation doomsayers.

Kick of is at 3PM on Saturday and Chris Foy officiates.

Howay the lads!

avatar NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I’m a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called ‘scrumpy’. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he’s not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 633 articles on this blog.

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12 Responses to “Newcastle v Birmingham match preview: top 10 finish in Pardew’s sights”

  1. 1
    avatar Tez131 says:

    Is Craig Gardner not suspended for the game?

  2. 2

    You’re right, he is. I’ve updated the post.

  3. 3
    avatar Tez131 says:

    Also just looking at the fixtures and the 3 teams above us dont play until Sunday/ Monday..

    Sunday, 8 May 2011
    Wolverhampton v West Brom, 12:00
    Stoke v Arsenal, 14:05

    Monday, 9 May 2011
    Fulham v Liverpool

    So if we can get a win we will go 10th, then hopefully Stoke and WBA drop points. If Fulham dont beat Liverpool we will be 1pt behind them aswell.

    However this all does depend on us beating Birmingham!
    I think it will be a tight home win, unless our Midfield can chip in with a few :).

  4. 4
    avatar CLiNT FLiCK says:

    The squad diminishes yet further.
    brum are gonna be right up for a scrap for their PL lives, so it’l be a tough game.
    We really need a boost though, to settle a few of the natives nerves & fevered brows.

    chris foy smells!

    :)

  5. 5

    It’s extremely difficult to predict Toon results this season because we’ve been erratic and much depends on which team turns up on the day.

    I’d like to think we’ll pull our socks up for this one though, so I’ll go for an uninspiring 1-0 to us.

  6. 6
    avatar Tez131 says:

    @ Hugh de Payen
    Who would be your choice for goal scorer?
    I know it hard to choose been all our current danger men…

  7. 7

    Tez, if I had to pick I’d say Nolan.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    avatar TROJAN 69 says:

    well chelsea is oot the window,they will take us to the cleaners.i think we could narrowly beat brum,but saying that we look like we could play all day,and not score.
    west brom are on a bit of a roll,so that will be a tough game,i can see us getting a point.finally tally for me,45 points.

  10. 10
    avatar BeeGuy says:

    Any points NUFC get will be the result of scoreless draws. That could happen in all three games. Thought West Brom seem the team most likely to score against NUFC.

  11. 11
    avatar Axel says:

    After the none performance of Sholla and Lovenkrands against Liverpool i would drop them to the bench and start with Shefki and Ranger then hope that Nile finally steps up to the plate . Its worth the gamble imo , lets face it Brum are hardly a top 6 side not that we are either . i would say 2 equally matched teams .

  12. 12
    avatar workyticket says:

    BeeGuy says:
    May 6, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    “Thought West Brom seem the team most likely to score against NUFC.”

    I would think that Chelsea might just put one or two past us too BeeGuy!

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