Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle United.
Date: Sat 21st Sep, 2013.
Kick off: 3.00pm.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (Bradford).
UK TV: None.
This week, the Magpies welcome Steve Bruce back to St James’ Park, this time with his promoted Hull City side.
After a long, long run of poor form, somehow, Alan Pardew goes into this game looking for his third Premier League victory in a row after two one goal victories over toothless Fulham and Aston Villa sides. The last time Pardew and Newcastle managed this feat was almost a year and a half ago back in April 2012. It was actually SIX victories in a row, over Norwich City, West Brom, Liverpool, Swansea City, Bolton Wanderers and finally, Stoke City. That was towards the end of the season when we finished fifth and it’s been pretty much downhill ever since! Here’s hoping we can get the same result as the last time Bruce was at St James’ Park. Of course, that time “Agent” Bruce brought his his Blunderland side to St James’ Park for a comprehensive 5-1 stuffing at the hands of Chris Hughton.
This game could also see the return of two Toon old faces too. Firtly there is Steve Harper, who just can’t seem to get away from St James’ Park since he played his last game for Newcastle United at the end of last season. It was only last week when he was playing in his wildly succesful testimonial game at St James’ Park. Secondly there is Abdoulaye Fayé, who was brought to St James’ Park for a season by Sam Allardyce back in 2007. Even at Hull though, the 35 year old Faye is seemingly a reserve for the reserves nowadays.
Looking at previous results between the Magpies and the Tigers (Grrrr), we have to go back to our dreadful relegation season in 2008-9, where we lost 1-2 at St James’ Park, and also lost 0-1 in the FA Cup, though we did manage a 1-1 draw at their place under the aforementioned Hughton in the same season.
Looking at more more recent times, you can see the Premier League form in the last six games for Newcastle, and the last four for Hull as in their case they have only played that many Premier League games since they were promoted from the Championship.
Jonas Gutierrez will continue to be out of contention with his hamstring. Steven Taylor, after making a brief return from a 3 match suspension will also be out after picking up another hamstring problem in training. Shola Ameobi picked up a knock on tour with the Nigerian Super Eagles so he’ll be out too, as will Massadio Haidara with his knacked knee. Finally, I’m sick of mentioning Ryan Taylor!
Injured: Jonas Gutierrez (hamstring), Steven Taylor (hamstring), Shola Ameobi (knock), Massadio Haidara (knee), Ryan Taylor (Anterior Cruciate Ligament).
Provsional squad: Tim Krul (G), Rob Elliot (G), Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Fabricio Coloccini (C), Curtis Good, Davide Santon, Paul Dummett, Cheick Tiote, Vurnon Anita, Yohan Cabaye, Sylvain Marveaux, Moussa Sissoko, Hatem Ben Arfa, Sammy Ameobi, Gael Bigirimana, Dan Gosling, Haris Vuckic, Papiss Cisse, Loic Remy, Yoan Gouffran.
Steve Bruce’s Captain and mainstay, Robert Koren, broke a bone in his right foot very recently in the run up to this game and Maynor Figueroa, who was battling with a groin problem anyway, has been allowed compassionate leave to go back to the Honduras and sort out a family problem apparently.
Injured: Robert Koren (foot), Maynor Figueroa (compassionate leave).
Provsional squad: Allan McGregor (G), Steve Harper (G), Robbie Brady, James Chester, Abdoulaye Fayé, Curtis Davies, Liam Rosenior, Ahmed Elmohamady, Alex Bruce, George Boyd, Stephen Quinn, Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, David Meyler, Danny Graham, Sone Aluko, Yannick Sagbo, Nick Proschwitz.
What the managers have been saying…
Alan Pardew: “What Steve done [sic] was unbelievable and nobody fancied them. They are ahead of schedule. I think our fans will remember that he managed Sunderland, and will be reminding him of that. He’s done a fabulous job at Hull. It is a different scenario for him now, but I don’t think those memories will leave him. He’s a local boy and he knows how important the football is up here.”
Steve Bruce: “We knew the first few weeks away were going to be pretty special – Chelsea, Manchester City and Newcastle, but that’s the Premier League. The squad are still looking forward to the challenge. We’ve proved so far that we can play at this level, but we have to be at our best to do that. If Newcastle get a head of steam, it’s a very passionate place to play football. We have to handle that atmosphere.”
On the abovementioned 5-1 Mackem stuffing on his last visit, Bruce also had the following to say:
“I’m a Geordie at the end of the day but they won’t forget where I managed once upon a time. It’s always nice to go back even if I get a bit of stick, it’s the team I followed as a boy and it’s good to go home and play against them. When they get a head of steam up it’s a passionate place to play football. I just hope it’s better than last time I went there and got beaten 5-1. I remember that vividly and hopefully it’s a better time for me.”
Which just about wraps thing up for now, except to say I will be posing the usual “match banter” piece tomorrow, with the final team sheets, links to watch the game online and the rest. Finally, I will also be posting match highlights, post match interviews and possibly a video of the whole game when it’s all over!