Match Preview: Scunthorpe United vs. Newcastle United

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Josh Lillis of Scunthorpe United takes a goal kick during the npower League One match between Charlton Athletic and Scunthorpe United at The Valley on August 20, 2011 in London, England.(Photo by Mark Wieland/Getty Images)

Newcastle United will travel to Scunthorpe to play Scunthorpe United in the second round of the Football League Cup.  Last year, Newcastle advanced to the fourth round before losing to eventual runners-up Arsenal 0-4 at home, while the Iron were eliminated in the third round by Manchester United by a score of 2-5.  Last time these two teams met was in the 2009-10 Championship, with Newcastle earning a 3-0 victory at home.

A match preview follows the jump.

Scunthorpe United FC

Currently: T-19th (League One), 0-3-1, 3 points

Previous Rounds in Football League Cup: Defeated Accrington Stanley 0-2 in First Round

Out: Jordan Robertson (ankle), Cliff Byrne (back), Paul Reid (groin)

Questionable: None?

Projected XI: Lillis | Wright, Nelson, Canavan, Nolan | Norwood, Togwell, O'Connor, Barcham | Dagnall, Grant

Projected Subs: Slocombe, Ryan, Thompson, Collins, Duffy, Godden, Palmer

Newcastle United FC

Currently: T-4th (Premier League), 1-1-0, 4 points

Previous Rounds in Football League Cup: N/A

Out: Hatem Ben Arfa (ankle)

Questionable: None

Projected XI: Harper | Perch, Williamson, RTaylor, Ferguson | Vuckic, Gosling, Smith, Marveaux | Best, Lovenkrands

Projected Subs: Krul, Coloccini, Kadar, Abeid, Cabaye, Sammy Ameobi, Ranger

Match Official: Graham Salisbury

The Opponent

Newcastle supporters should be familiar with Scunthorpe, as both squads shared some time together in the Championship just two years ago.  The Iron have since been relegated to League One, which is probably more representative of their true talent level.  They are perhaps most famous in the North East for producing Kevin Keegan, who came up in their youth system and played in the first team there for three years.  Scunthorpe has had a slow start to the season, gaining only three points in the first four league matches.

Developments & Interesting Storyline

Joey Barton wasn't going to play in this one anyway, but since it looks like he's off to Queens Park Rangers, Newcastle will have to learn to survive without him.  That starts with giving some fresh blood a run out.  Sylvain Marveaux, Dan Gosling, and Haris Vuckic are all expected to feature, as are now-backup goaltender Steve Harper and newly fit Shane Ferguson.  Alan Pardew seems to have higher aspirations than merely getting out of the second round, so it will be interesting to see how he reacts if the score stays close as the match goes on.

Expectations

Obviously, anything short of a convincing victory will be a disappointment, though four Premier League clubs have already managed to get booted out of this tournament.  I've always been of the opinion that cup competition should be taken seriously, and though there are plenty of folks who disagree with me, I'll take solace in the fact that Pardew is at least saying the right things.  Victories in cup competition can be confidence-building, especially if the club is mired in a bit of turmoil as they are now. 

Keys to Victory

  1. Keep playing stout defense.  Newcastle is already the only team in the league who hasn't given up a goal yet this season.  Let's keep it going in cup play.
  2. Withstand an early attack and grind Scunthorpe down.  The crowds at cup games are notoriously rowdy, as supporters of smaller clubs are amped at the possibility of putting a skin on the wall.  The Iron will likely play with a frenetic pace early.  A patient, counterattacking style, at least at the outset, should do the trick.
  3. Avoid bookings.  Cheik Tiote was shown red in the FA Cup tie with Stevenage last year and had to sit out for three domestic games.  A repeat of that would be a travesty.

Fearless Predictions

  • A goal will be scored off of a Sylvain Marveaux set piece.
  • James Perch will start and he won't be awful.
  • Nile Ranger will play less than five minutes.  People will complain when he doesn't score.
  • SUFC 1, NUFC 3
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