Date:Saturday October 20 2012
Stadium of Plight, Albania
21st October 2012
I sit here writing this preview with the main thought being that i haven't a clue.
I haven't a clue about how the Mackems will line up because i don't follow them or even feel the need to research it. I just know that Alan Pardew will have done his homework but at the same time worry more about how we line up.
I haven't a clue what formation they'll play but then again, i feel it's more about how we approach the game. Man for man, we have the better personnel but as many a great tactician has pointed out. There's no 'I' in 'Team'.
It's all about how we gel on the day, how we deal with the abuse, the noise, the passion, the fight. It's about control and getting our fair share of luck.
The form book goes out the window in a derby but then again, between us we haven't really had any. Both of us only winning one game each out of the last six played in the league. it all points to a draw. A result which means everyone's a winner.
The little bit of clue that i do have is what players are available and what colours we'll wear.
We have some big names back and they're not just big in name, they actually form the basis of a massive position. The spine.
Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor return. Taylor after his inflammatory comments recently to the local media being a local boy knows exactly what the fixture means, although so do the rest of the side as they've all got derby previous. maybe a telling advantage in the battle ahead.
It's also rumoured that we're wearing the Euro strip as a tribute to the Liam o'Brien winner twenty years ago whilst other rumours say we've been refused the honour on a ruling of short or sock clash.
Anyway, bragging rights are up for auction and they're going to the highest bidder. Tomorrow the two of us go bidding, lets hope it's an NUFC winning one.
No Mackem player would get in our squad - Steven Taylor
Krul, Coloccini and Saylor return to the squad
My predicted XI
NUFC have only lost one game there ever.
Head says draw, heart says win. Lady luck hasn't decided yet.
Home to Brugge in the Europa League
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Date:Saturday October 20 2012
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