After a prosperous transfer window, in which Newcastle strengthened in all most all areas, we now once again have an injury crisis. Ryan Taylor has been sidelined for numerous months and we still don't have a return date. Mathieu Debuchy has picked up what appears to be a thigh injury. Massaido Haïdara was on the receiving end of assault, while Davide Santon pulled up during international duty with an injury, which will be assessed today.
Typical Newcastle luck, after we build up our defensive ranks and look to be well prepared in case of injury, we lose three full backs in two days. One of which was totally needless and should never happen on a football pitch, at any level. It's hard not to feel for Alan Pardew who, once again, will have to mastermind a miracle to deal with the current full back situation.
At the time of writing we have one senior full back fit and ready, but he hasn't player since Anzhi Makhachkala away in the Europa League. The other fit full back is James Tavernier who hasn't featured since December. Both of these players have something in common however, both are right backs.
This leaves Alan Pardew with a tricky task on the left flank. He could play Jonas Gutierrez at left back, even though it isn't his natural position. He has had experience at left back though, he predominately played the role for Argentina in the 2010 world cup. Although it is not ideal, it is a temporary solution to what, could end up being a long term issue.
Mathieu Debuchy has been allowed recovery time and has pulled out of the senior French squad for their international matches against Spain and Georgia. Whereas Davide Santon could yet pull out of the Italian under 21 squad. But, even still if they have not returned from injury by the time we have to play Manchester City, Pardew could have a tough decision to make.
Another option could be to play Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in either full-back position. Although the French star has expressed his desire to play at Centre Half he may well have to take on for the team in this instance. Utility man James Perch may once again have to step in and play in yet another position. Steven Taylor could even step out and even further endear himself to Tyneside by showing he will literally play anywhere for Newcastle. It is still going to be a hard decision as no manager would like to play his players out of position.
Massaido Haïdara however, could be out for a long time after the 'challenge' by Callum McManaman, who won't even face action for his 'attempt at the ball' which could potentially rob young Haïdara of a future in the game. The 20 year old, French under 21 star is highly rated in his country of origin and AS Nancy were understandably reluctant to let the young man leave. In his short time on Tyneside he has already left a mark on the Geordie nation who were delighted with his performances against Metalist Kharkiv and Anzhi Makhachkala. We all wish young Haïdara a speedy recovery and we hope that he can continue to fulfil his undoubted potential with Newcastle United.
Hopefully the players recover from injury and are fit to face Manchester City at the Ethiad Stadium and get the three points. However, if not we can just hope Alan Pardew can perform a tactical miracle and get just something away to City.