Writer: Ross Molyneux
Date:Friday September 12 2008
St James Park
13th September 2008
In the midst of all the protestations and recriminations there is actually a game taking place on the field this weekend at St James`, with Premier League new boys making their top-flight bow against NUFC in a normal Saturday 3pm kick off. With that much focus off the pitch there is the chance to forget that, by May at least, this could become an essential match for NUFC to win.
'What have I done to be here?'
Chris Hughton handles the managerial reigns for this one, with his experience of the situation probably being akin to coping with a runaway horse and cart. Rumours fly over whether Ashley will be at the game given the rozzers won`t offer him extra protection but the caretaker is being tipped for at least four games in the hotseat.
In squad terms he`s taken a kicking. Ignoring the blatant unrest within the camp caused by the w***ers in charge trying to sell players unbeknown to them, he has a comprehensive injury list headed by key men Gutierrez and Martins along with Viduka, Duff and Carroll. A list of niggles also emerges, with the likes of Beye (Achilles), Enrique (thigh), Geremi and Cacapa. Smith and Stroller Ameobi both remain suspects to accompany Owen up front depending on their current fitness levels.
As for our new signings Nacho and Xisco - who haven`t had more than 24 hours with their new colleagues prior to the match - we`ll have to wait and see. Barton is of course suspended.
Alarming this is what the worst case scenario team looks like, should all the suspects above fail fitness tests and not be considered after international duty:
Coloccini, Taylor, Edgar, Bassong
Butt, Guthrie, N`Zogbia
That is a nine man team. I honestly can`t pick two players, should the rest be ruled out / declared not ready, who could come in. Possibly Ryan Donaldson or Nile Ranger - but that just sums up the club at the moment that we are down to literally the untried youth teamers one game after the transfer deadline.
More balanced however and we`re probably looking at:
Beye, Colo, Taylor, Bassong (or Edgar)
Geremi, Butt, Guthrie, N`Zogbia
God help Hughton to pick 7 players for the bench.
'Player' in the loosest sense of the word, having had his Cristal popping earlier in the month in NYC. Will he turn up?
As for Hull - given the state of play at our place they look a shoo-in for a mackem guided win under Phil Brown. The likes of Boateng, Windass, Gardner, Barmby, Geovanni, Fagan and Mendy all have PL experience.
Squad from: Myhill, Ricketts, Turner, Gardner, Dawson, Garcia, Ashbee, Barmby, Geovanni, Fagan, Halmosi, Folan, King, Windass, Mendy, Marney, Duke, Brown, Boateng, Zayatte, McShane.
Undoubtedly talented but lazier than Laurent Robert.
League Cup - 1997/1998 - won 2-0 (Rush, Sir Disco Des Hamilton)
Division Two - 1990/1991 - lost 1-2 (Clark)
Division Two - 1989/1990 - won 2-0 (McGhee 2)
1-0 loss. Typical Bolton-esque hit and run by Allardyce wannabe Phil Brown.
West Ham (away) - Premier League
Spurs (home) - League Cup
Date:Friday September 12 2008
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