Mackems Preview: Time for Unity
It`s been defined as the most important Tyne Wear derby since the 1990 Play Off Semi at Gallowgate. With both sides right in the sh*te nothing less than a win for ourselves would really give the boost we need to pull clear of the bottom three and kick on for the rest of the season.
We go into the game in a horrific streak. Wigan, Liverpool, West Ham, Blackburn and Man City have gone by with just a solitary point gained whilst our alleged best team failed to beat Hull`s second string twice and crashed out of the FA Cup.
In the meantime our players have fallen like flies. Viduka and Beye at Wigan, Ameobi melted to glue, Barton and Owen at City, N`Zogbia`s hissy fit, Given`s near departure and Guthrie`s gammy knee - all symptomatic of the current state of things at SJP.
However with new blood comes new hope. Taylor and Nolan are decent signings that can definitely do a job for us in our current plight and there is the hope of more to come. Carroll is starting to emerge as a definite threat up front and Lovenkrands should be getting fitter. Reinforcements in Butt, Guthrie and Smith should all also make it in time for the match.
The fact Ashley is back should be read as a positive thing. It means that after his hibernation he has finally clicked on that his investment, which is what we are, is set to go even more tits up than his HBOS spreadbetting. This means cash injections and stewardship which the club has lacked over the last 6 months.
Expect the side to line up (signings pending):
Harper, Taylor, Coloccini, Bassong, Taylor, Gutierrez, Butt, Nolan, Duff, Carroll, Lovenkrands.
If Kinnear was to go 4-5-1 then Nolan would be pressed in to support Carroll with Guthrie holding. Expect cameos from Smith and possibly Martins / Shola.
As for the mackems - who gives a toss? They`ve been in pretty much similar form as us, with their scraped win at home against Fulham the only difference. Stop Cisse and Jones and we stop them. Sounds a simple task but probably won`t be knowing our back line.
Most important for us is that the fans stay with the team. Despite everything that has gone on, this game is the exception to the rule and whoever wears the black and white deserves our full support. Another Sky based meltdown is just what the club doesn`t need. Get into them, f**k 'em up. Howay the Lads.