There's just no way to spin what happened at Southampton Sunday. Newcastle were soundly defeated by a team in the relegation zone. It was a poor performance all the way around, but especially from the back five. That group will receive a boost when NUFC travel to Stoke City on Wednesday, as Fabricio Coloccini is due to return from his red card suspension.
Captain Colo's availability will almost certainly push Mike Williamson to the bench, so the move is already a net positive. It may not be all sunshine and rainbows, though - if Coloccini has one vulnerability, it's the long ball over the top. Alan Pardew has, in his better moments, played a solid tactical game against Stoke in the past (no high lines!). The hope is that this trend continues and one of the better defenders in the league is able to exert his full influence on the game. The best news out of all of this may just be that the Toon won't be playing the #1 long ball team in the Premiership: Newcastle United.