Injury Update: Shola Ameobi Expected To Be Ready For Manchester United Clash

I think I've finally run out of Hannibal jokes.

According to Lee Ryder of the Chronicle and Mark Douglas of The Journal, Shola Ameobi's knee scan has come back clean and he is expected to be available for Tuesday's match with Manchester United, provided that there are no further setbacks in the meantime.  Ameobi woke before last Sunday's match with Aston Villa with swelling in the knee following an injury sustained in training and was unable to play.  Ameobi's absence is cited as one of the excuses reasons Newcastle did not perform well.

Ameobi, who has been a polarizing figure among fans during his entire 10-year stay with the club, started off the year as a regular substitute.  However, injuries and high-profile player sales have forced him into the role of primary striker.  He was bitten by the injury bug himself earlier this season, as his cheekbone was fractured by Steve Sidwell's elbow on February 3.  Shola now plays in a fitted mask to protect against further injury.

If Ameobi is not available for selection for Tuesday's game, Alan Pardew's choices at striker are very thin: Peter Lovenkrands, Nile Ranger, and Shefki Kuqi represent the only current first-team options, though Phil Airey has caught Pardew's eye with some strong performances for the reserve squad, including a two goal showing earlier this week.

It is speculated that Stephen Ireland will be available (then again, we've been through this song and dance several times since he came over on loan from Aston Villa), which would potentially enable Pardew to field a 4-5-1 formation, a move that may be necessary depending on Ameobi's progress throughout the week.

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