Problems at Newcastle - 17/09/2003

Problems at Newcastle
Will play infront of N'Gotty and Thome

The injury to Florent Laville is a massive, massive blow to the club and trying to cope without him will be a great challenge for Sam. His partnership with Gudni Bergsson was instrumental in keeping Wanderer’s in the Premiership last season – in my book he probably contributed to our survival more than any other player. With Gudni retiring and now this long-term injury, the responsibility on Emerson Thome has increased substantially. His partnership with Bruno N’Gotty will now need to develop quickly but my fear is that neither can read the game as well as last season’s central defensive partnership. Honestly, it’s the worst thing that could happen to the club, we’ve cover in all other areas and there’s no doubt that this will hit us hard. By coincidence we’d just re-signed Paul Warhurst and a bit a cover at the back is needed.

At the other end of the pitch it's well done to Kevin Davies, he’s been working his socks off and getting himself a goal or two. I mentioned that his moe to Bolton was his last chance saloon - you have to say that he’s taken it. He was my man of the match against Boro and during Saturday’s game you couldn’t help but compare him to a certain Michael Ricketts – well he’s got more goals and cost considerably less – guess we’re happy with that one!

Boro were very disappointing. They’ve quite a number of names in their team, but unfortunately for them, they played like a group of individuals.

Mario Jardel is still way off Premiership pace, he may make the bench at Newcastle but I can’t see anything other than a cameo appearance - if at all for him. He played 90 minutes of reserve team football this week, as did Ibrahim Ba. But the game in the North East is probably going to be tight, and I can’t see Sam being able to afford the luxury of throwing him on in order to build up his fitness/touch. Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, the amount of pace Newcastle have is frightening. If Bellamy and Robert play, and with Kieron Dyer making those runs from the centre of the park, we’re in danger of being over run. We’ll have no alternative other than to sit deep – and that will invite pressure. I know Newcastle aren’t having the best of times, but surely it’s just a matter of time before things start to click up there. You don’t get to finish third in the Premiership by chance, so I’m just hoping that their poor run of form continues. I’d settle for a draw, but then again, if things are that bad up there…

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