St James' Park, Premier League. Sunday 23/Sep/12, KO:3pm.
Here we have the downside of UEFA cup football, our domestic games get pushed back to a Sunday, which whilst is nothing new, it is nowhere near as good as playing on a Saturday.
Alan Pardew, true to his word, left a handful of our first team players back at home to rest up for this fixture, spreading the workload throughout the squad.
Of course, this fixture sees the SJP return of former manager, Chris Hughton, having taken up the position at Norwich in the summer. The man deserves our appreciation for the swift return to the Premier League following the horrific relegation in ’09. There were plenty question marks over his appointment, especially as he had a couple of unproductive caretaker stints during the 08-09 campaign, but having been tasked with sorting our shit out, he responded in a fantastic way and made our stay in Division 2 a temporary one. Ultimately that didn’t cut him a huge amount of slack in the boardroom and he was asked to turn in his badge and gun after a rather limp performance at WBA. It wasn’t a particularly popular decision with many of our supporters and whilst we never got a chance to show our gratitude back then, I’m sure he’ll get a very warm welcome on Sunday. Well he will from me, anyway.
It has been a busy little summer down at Carrow Road as Hughton managed to convince Grant Holt to stay and then brought in Steven Whittaker (Rangers), Robert Snodgrass (Leeds), Harry Kane (Spurs), Javier Garrido (Lazio), Sébastien Bassong (Spurs), Jacob Butterfield and for reasons best known to himself he 'bolstered' his defence with a central defender with the mobility of a static caravan in Michael Turner. (Sunderland) They’re yet to set the world alight and sit in 16th spot, having taken an opening day 5-0 lacing from Fulham, they managed a 1-1 draw with QPR. They snatched a late point at Tottenham (1-1) and drew 0-0 with West Ham last time out. Whittaker has an ankle injury whilst Elliot Bennett will need a fitness test ahead of Sunday.
There doesn’t appear to be any of our big hitters coming back for this one, but there’ll be much debate about who should play up front. I cant be the only one who wishes that players (and reporters) would just shut the fuck up and get on with the job in hand. Ba’s admission that “He’s not happy with some things that have been going on” but not stating what, helps no-one, but the press will have a field day with shit like that.
Tim Krul – Elbow
Fabricio Coloccini – Hamstring
Danny Simpson – Hamstring
Cheick Tiote – Calf
Ryan Taylor - Knee
Possible XI (4-5-1)
To be confirmed after the hop to Madeira
We need the win really, hopefully with a convincing performance
Opposition Danger Man
Striker, Grant Holt
Love To hate
Bassong can provide Sunday’s hate figure.