Hello, sports fans! We head into another weekend looking forward to the FA Cup tie with Brighton on Saturday and also the January window being one day closer to closing (Hooray! on the one side fthings and ....uhmmm.... on the other side). Sunday will see Double Demba's last match at the ACON as well and many eyes from the Toon will be on the match hoping that both players come injury-free through the match with Libya. I think at this point we can all agree that best case scenario would be for both Dembas to score and Senegal to go out of the tournament with some pride after crushing Libya... so let's hope.
NUFC Reserves 0 - 6 Manchester United Reserves
The Magpies fielded a line-up including Mehdi Abeid, James Tavernier and Remie Streete but it wasn’t enough to prevent the heaviest defeat of the campaign. Will Keane fired Man United 1-0 up at Moss Lane last night with a well-taken strike after 33 minutes. Toon keeper Ole Soderberg then palmed the ball into his own net after the break after Oliver Norwood’s corner dropped into the Toon net.
I was on the road when this match was happening... which is sad because there was a video stream of the match. I did try to keep tabs through the majesty that is Twitter (of course stopping each time to check!). What I could glean from the Twitters: a) Ole's OG was a howler to beat all howlers and b) Mehdi Abeid was head and shoulders above most other players on the pitch... for whatever that is worth.
And there will be discussions this week between Newcastle and the Senegal Football Federation. "I’d imagine they’re not too pleased with how it’s gone, and that’s something we’ll have to focus on when they return," said Pardew. "On the other hand, they’ll come back early, so that part we’re pleased about. "They’re two great players. and you want your best players in the team. "I’ve not spoken to them yet, but we have to understand Senegal’s wishes, and they have to understand our’s. "Lee Charnley, the secretary, will have a conversation, and we’ll see when we can get them back. "Blackburn’s probably tight, but we’ll see."
I don't think there's any chance that Senegal is going to release the Dembas any before they have to, so Blackburn may be tight as AP said. Failing getting them released early, may both of them score and may Senegal run out of the ACON with a 10-0 victory so they come back with their spirits high.
On the FA Cup Tie With Brighton
Newcastle haven’t got beyond the fourth round in six years, and last year’s campaign was brought to an abrupt end by League One team Stevenage. While mindful of the demands of the Premier League, Pardew – who came close to winning the cup as player and manager with Crystal Palace and West Ham United respectively – believes it would be a gamble to field a weakened team. While some top-flight managers will be making a number of changes to their starting XIs, Pardew doesn’t intend to tinker with his team. "I saw a stat the other day that intrigued me – any Premier League team that makes more than four changes puts themselves at risk," Pardew told the Gazette.
Perhaps there is no end to the statistical ways in which Alan Pardew can view his job. I'd be interested to see exactly how much risk the +4 change thing actually carries with it.
Pardew is expecting Coloccini to pull through after picking up a knock in training but, while he also confirmed that the Magpies have made measures to make sure that Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse will be back on Tyneside in time for next Wednesday’s journey to Blackburn Rovers.
As wuds100 alerted us to in the Three Question Thursday thread, Colo has picked up a "knock". Depending on which story you read, he's likely to pull through and be able to play or he's not likely to pull through and play. 26 days gone thus far in which we could have purchased a CB for cover so that we would not need to play James Perch in the middle, but who's counting?
Krul – who reckons the 5-2 defeat at Fulham was a "one off" – told the Chronicle before heading for the south coast: "Of course people were disappointed with us last weekend, but the season so far has been incredible for us. "We’re sixth – on the same points as Arsenal. Nobody would have thought that before the season. "We’ve surprised everybody this season, so hopefully the second half of the season is the same and we’ll be up there challenging right until the end."
"I'm playing for the club I've always wanted to play for," the Netherlands international told BBC Newcastle. "I've been working hard for five or six years now to be where I am at now." Krul added: "I know where I am at, I'm loving life at the moment. "Sixth in the league, we couldn't wish for much more than that."
This is very nice to hear, and Tim certainly has put in the graft at the club to get where he is today. I think that Tim will stay as long as we'll have him. He also said:
"It's one of those periods, people get linked everywhere," Krul continued.
"For players they have to switch off, if things happen, they have to happen.
"I don't read the papers or the internet, it will play with your head."
While I don't think that he probably completely avoids the papers and internet, I am on board with the sentiment for sure and am glad that Tim is at least cognizant of that situation.
Bits And Bobs
Premier League Newcastle United are interested in 22-year-old striker Rodriguez, and sources in the North East claim the Magpies have enquired about the England Under-21 cap, who is top-scorer with 14 goals. Alan Pardew had Rodriguez watched at Middlesbrough two weeks ago, as he netted the opener in a 2-0 win. However, Newcastle have already moved to sign Senegal forward Papiss Demba Cisse from Freiburg this window, and, with Burnley keen to hold on to their homegrown star, it is thought Newcastle will make a move in the summer instead.
The way the rumors are going these days, I don't guess anything is going to surprise me, but a summer move here makes much more sense.
Pardew told the Chronicle: "Hatem has been sick actually. But he’s trained now, and he’s fit. "He’s an exciting player that is getting to grips with what we’re about. "He’s focused on his positional play and he is getting a lot better."
Hatem will be ready for Brighton tomorrow... but I get concerned when one story is completely different from one day to several days later. I don't know if it's cause for concern or not (HBA did return to training when the club got back from Spain), but initially his absence was reported as being due to his invitation to a cup draw in France... and now it's because he was "sick". Perhaps one to keep an eye on here.