First it was Magpies v Canaries, then Magpies v Swans, and now the Mags find themselves battling the Throstles of West Bromwich Albion for a juicy three point worm. “Throstle” is an an English name for the Eurasian song thrush, and though you’d think the poor little song thrushes would have no chance against the mighty Magpies, they have proved to be fairly tricky customers in the past and we haven’t been racking up the results as we did in the earlier part of the season, with no win in our last five games.
Before I forget, please excuse me for the lack of our usual “match preview” feature this week, which was cancelled due to the horrors of Christmas. I shall endeavour to make up for that somewhat by incorporating a kind of mini preview into this article, starting with previous encounters, and then a bit of team news.
Previous matches, stats etc…
Our last game against West Brom at St James’ Park was a 3-3 thriller in the Premiership, with the one before that being a Desmond 2-2 during our season in the Championship, with the tightly matched teams eventually securing the two top places that year. In the season before that we were both relegated together, however one bright spot of that dark season was that we managed to do the double over the Throstles, winning 2-1 at St James in the first encounter. The next away match against them was also the time of Joe Kinnear’s heart episode, when Chris Hughton took over the lads at short notice to lead them to a 2-3 victory at the Hawthorns. Whilst we’re on the subject of Chris Hughton and West Brom, it was our last away game against them which was used as the pretence for his sacking by the dastardly Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias. It was a 3-1 defeat in December 2010.
In our last six games in all competitions (home and away) against West Brom, our overall record is Won 1, Drawn 3, Lost 2.
As I wrote, these Throstles can be tricky customers, and have also only lost one of their last five away matches, their last being an away victory against troubled Blackburn. However to sign off this section on a high note, the Magpies have only lost once at home so far this season, to Chelsea. Also, the last time the Throstles came to the Magpies’ nest and flew off with a juicy three point worm (well, two points as it was back in those days) was way back in the days of Punk and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. “God save the Queen, the fascist regime, they made you a moron, potential H-Bomb…” as a certain Mr.J.Rotten once wrote.
Whilst it was originally thought that Danny Guthrie’s groin would leave him out of the picture for a few games yet, he is only rated as “doubtful” by several sources for this one, as is Mike Williamson, who has recovered from a long spell out with his ankle/foot injury and a broken arm before that. Ryan Taylor completes the doubtfuls with his ankle.
Of course, Steven Taylor (Achilles tendon) and Sylvain Marveaux (Groin) are still long term knacked, and will remain so for quite some time. Finally, we will also see Dan Gosling sitting out the second game of a three match suspension for his sending off against the Canaries of Norwich, and important midfield fulcrum, Yohan Cabaye is also suspended for this game after picking up five yellow cards, which just about wraps up the Geordie casualties.
West Bromwich Albion
On the Throstles’ side, midfielder James Morrison will miss the game with a hamstring problem and Youssouf Mulumbu and Paul Scharner are both doubtful and will under fitness tests. Finally, George Thorne, Gonzalo Jara and Marc-Antoine Fortune will be returning from loan spells.
Getting back to the usual stuff, I shall endeavour to fill out the teamsheets below once they become available, and if you have any good links for the game, please feel free to share them in our comments section below.
Howay the Lads!
Newcastle United (4-4-2) Tim Krul (G), Danny Simpson, James Perch, Fabricio Coloccini (C), Davide Santon, Gabriel Obertan, Haris Vuckic, Cheick Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best, Demba Ba.
Subs Rob Elliot (G), Ryan Taylor, Mike Williamson, Mehdi Abeid, Hatem Ben Arfa, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi.
West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Ben Foster (G), Steven Reid, Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson, Nicky Shorey; Jerome Thomas, Youssouf Mulumbu, Paul Scharner, Chris Brunt (C); Peter Odemwingie, Shane Long.
Subs Marton Fulop (G), Billy Jones, Craig Dawson, George Thorne, Graham Dorrans, Marc-Antonie Fortune.
Kick off: 7:45pm at St James’ Park.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.