Newcastle United third-choice goalkeeper Jak Alnwick has passed a fitness test and will be ready to play Sunderland on Sunday, according to The Chronicle. Alnwick injured his shoulder during Wednesday's League Cup loss to Tottenham Hotspur, and there was some thought that Newcastle might turn to 17 year-old Freddy Woodman or apply for an emergency loan, but it seems that Alnwick will get the nod.
The 21 year-old, who began his professional career in Sunderland's academy while his older brother Ben got occasional starts for the senior squad, has had a rocky start to his career on Tyneside. Alnwick was thrust into service less than two weeks ago when Rob Elliot was injured during Newcastle's 2-1 victory over previously undefeated Chelsea, and the youngster made several important stops to preserve the late lead. The next two matches were more forgettable, as he conceded four goals each to Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, making several high profile mistakes along the way.
Now, Alnwick must tighten up his game if the Magpies are going to have a chance against the mackems, who have emerged victorious in three of the last four meetings between the two sides. There will likely be many who look at this bit of news as a bad thing, given Alnwick's poor form over the last 120 minutes. There's no question that he's been poor, but a derby is no place to give a U18 his debut. In that sense, this is good news.
It's also not outside the realm of possibility that catching a few easy shots from Jozy Altidore will boost Jak's confidence and get him going. If he can grab a clean sheet or at least give them a chance to win, all will be forgiven.