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Newcastle United Wednesday Links: It's GAME DAY!

Hm.  This is awkward.
Hm. This is awkward.

Happy Wednesday to you... it's Match Day! I intended this to be like a little amuse bouche for the day, but it has ended up being a fairly sizable set of links. A couple of interesting ones worth discussing heading towards the match today. We're just a little less than 6 hours from game time, so I'm going to get to the links straight away. Jump!

Former Players Still Involved Around Newcastle

David Ginola becomes patron of Toma Fund - Chronicle News - News - ChronicleLive

HE won legions of fans during his time for Newcastle United and now David Ginola is hoping to pull in the same support for a Tyneside children’s cancer charity.

It's surely a matter of perspective, but there seem to be an extraordinary number of former players that stay involved in the Newcastle community following the conclusion of their playing careers... which I think is awesome.

Let's Talk About Current Players!

Pardew in plea to fans over Gabriel Obertan - NUFC News - NUFC - JournalLive

Pardew feels his pace means that supporters often expect him to take on a defender every time he receives the ball, something that the United boss reckons would make him too predictable. So he is happy to see him cut inside once in a while – even if he is urging Obertan to come up with more end product. "Our fans need to be patient with him as I and the staff need to be at times because we know what he can do," Pardew said. "I don’t think he has been as good as he was before he came out of the side with an injury. "He hasn’t come back as good.

It's been pretty obvious that Gaby has not been as good as the flash of brilliance that we saw at Old Trafford. I believe that, overall, the supporter base has been quite patient thus far. For me, I don't even need to see overt brilliance right away-- I just need him to stop playing shite balls to kill moves that could potentially threaten the goal.

Pardew set to field two wingers against WBA - NUFC Latest News - Newcastle United - ChronicleLive

ALAN PARDEW has revealed how he will stay faithful to his policy of fielding two wingers ahead of tonight’s clash with West Bromwich Albion. The Londoner goes into this evening’s game against the Baggies with Yohan Cabaye and Dan Gosling suspended. But the Newcastle boss will not tinker with his shape despite talk of operating with a 4-3-3 formation.

Hm. Bummer. I had talked myself around to a 4-3-3 in one of my discussions with Robert yesterday, and it was a little exciting. Instead, we are left to speculate who will take the center-mid spot vacated by Cabaye. I've seen newspaper suggestions that Vuckic will be the one to step in... Abeid has been touted for a couple of weeks now, and HBA is out there, but I've seen suggestions that AP sees HBA as a defensive liability and is thus hesitant to play him in a pure center mid role. I'll leave it for you to discuss below. Who do you start?

Mehdi Abeid hails mentors Tiote and Cabaye - NUFC Latest News - Newcastle United - ChronicleLive

Abeid is classed as a holding midfielder and, reflecting on his experience against the Swans, he said: "Every time I warmed up I was hoping to get on the pitch. I understood that the manager wanted to score so he used other players.

Abeid is classed as a holding midfielder... that's interesting to me as he has scored some absolutely beautiful strikes for the reserves... not the sort of strikes that come consistently from a holding mid. What it does suggest is that perhaps Vuckic is the more natural direct replacement for Cabaye if everything holds to system.

James Perch in tribute to NUFC fans' backing - NUFC Latest News - Newcastle United - ChronicleLive

Perch told the Chronicle: "It’s perfect to play in front of a crowd like this. "You can hear the roar and they are always just willing you on. "When you are shooting towards the Gallowgate End it is just unbelievable as a player.

Here's hoping that James is as solid as he was v. Swansea. I'm sure playing next to Colo helps. Also, someday I would love to be in the Gallowgate end. Just sayin'.

Demba Ba should be Newcastle's No 9, says Alan Pardew | Mail Online

Newcastle No 9 - made famous by the likes of Jackie Milburn and Alan Shearer in yesteryear - has been vacant since [name redacted] made his £35million switch to Liverpool last January. And Pardew said, speaking of Ba: 'If I knew he’d perform to that level he would have got the No 9 shirt. 'I think Demba Ba’s all-round ability in terms of goals and everything he has given us has been a real big bonus this year.

So this is going to come back up again. We had discussed this earlier (and Robert addressed it) in the year, and I think that we mostly were not ready to bestow the iconic shirt on Ba just yet. What about now? He has had a start to rival the best starts in the history of the number 9 (goal/match ratio right up there with Sir Les Ferdinand), but it's still only been 12 matches. What do you think? Vote below!

It's been a fantastic year, says Alan Pardew - NUFC News - NUFC - JournalLive

"You know people will look at our recent run and they don’t actually look at the bigger picture. "We’re in a fantastic position in the league, we’ve still got some good games coming up and it’s all there for us. We’re just rolling on. We’re ahead of where we thought we’d be, for sure." Pardew bristled at suggestions that the visit of West Brom represented a "must-win" match in the pre-match briefing. Standing seventh in the league with festive fixtures that could yield points, it is an understandable approach from a manager who is adamant that his best team could be a match for anyone in the Premier League.

This fits in for me with the Be Patient With Gaby story for me. Yes we've had a great start. Yes expectations shifted some with our brilliant start to the season. Yes we're well ahead of where anyone expected us to be. The fact remains that we're dropping points now that we shouldn't be, regardless our position in the table, and that's not good enough.

Injury ends Nile Ranger's loan spell at Barnsley - NUFC News - NUFC - JournalLive

This is pretty unfortunate for Ranger. He had gone a little while without being arrested, so that may be the best thing we can take from the loan spell... Regardless what shakes out, he probably loans again in January, so (yawn).

Transfer news: Alan Smith finished at Newcastle after Alan Pardew snub and may return to Leeds - News -

Alan Pardew has signaled the end of Alan Smith's Newcastle career by omitting him from their latest squad tonight despite several midfielders being out. Smith, 31, is a free agent at the end of the season when his £60,000-a-week deal expires.

Nothing new or exciting here... we're close to the window, though, so someone has to make it dramatic, right?

Let's Talk a Little Bit About Potential Magpies!

Pardew targets defensive boost (From The Northern Echo)

Pardew has already been linked with Blackburn Rovers defender Christopher Samba, who has stated his desire to leave Ewood Park. But with his wages likely to be above Mike Ashley's strict structure and the fact he is 27, the Congolese man doesn't fit into the Magpies' transfer blueprint.

Yes, Chris Samba is a little older than what we expect Ashley to approve so far as acquisitions. He's not that old, though, relative to the somewhat desperate straights we find ourselves in with our center-backs. I think that there's a distinction between a player looking to be acquired to step directly into the side (see Cabaye, Ba, etc. who are at the higher end of the preferred age range of acquisitions) and a player such as Mehdi Abeid who is being brought in for the future.

Newcastle United trail £10m-rated Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen - report -

There are other bigger names in for Vertonghen (Tottenham, Arsenal, etc.) and the price tag is awfully high you would think... but he does fit better in the age box. I still see this as extremely unlikely.