A traditional Saturday afternoon kick-off sees Stoke City seek to spook St James’, a ground that has historically haunted the Potters; they’ve only been treated to a single win in their last ten visits.
Newcastle come into this on the back of a horror show of a derby in which antagonist Robert Madley cruelly culled any hopes of victory, granting Sunderland a Tyne-Wear derby record six-in-a-row, and preventing escape from the depths of the relegation zone, for that week at least.
“You must always recover. We beat Norwich 6-2 and now we want to win against Stoke City. We’ve trained hard and worked hard.
“We have lost the derby, that’s the situation. We have to deal with it now.”
– Steve McClaren
We currently languish in 19th, two goal difference behind our rivals from Wearside, and two points adrift of the hallowed turf of 17th, currently occupied by Bournemouth. A win could take us as high as 16th, at least until Sunday when the three teams around us all play in separate fixtures.
Stoke endured two hours of defensive duties against Chelsea on Tuesday, eventually emerging victorious after the game went to penalties. Three days before they dominated possession, but not the scoreline against Watford, losing 0-2. Owing to a four match winning streak before this, they currently sit in the lofty heights of the lower mid-table in 14th.
“I thought they were the better team at Sunderland before the sending off. They will think they were hard done by and will want to put that right.
“Prior to that game, their last one at St James’ Park, they had a big win [6-2 over Norwich City] and they will still be buoyed by that victory.”
– Mark Hughes
Jack Colback is out until mid-December following Clattermole’s crunching assault early in the second half of the derby, but he would have missed this one any way as he picked up his customary yellow card before that point.
Fabricio Coloccini has had his red card rescinded following what the FA referred to as an “obvious error” by self-proclaimed referee Madley, which the club celebrated by shipping out potential stand-in Mike Williamson to Wolves, I guess the club were scared by the prospect of seeing him at the heart of our defence once again.
Karl Darlow, Tim Krul, Gabriel Obertan, Emmanuele Riviere, and Steven Taylor are all out of contention due to injury, we can probably include Sylvain Marveaux in that as well. Rolando Aarons and Kevin Mbabu are reportedly fit again, and may even be in line for action as the promising pair of youngsters have tended to impress when given a chance.
Former perpetual Newcastle target Erik Pieters has served his one game suspension and should return to action for this one, however Phil Bardsley was sent off and will miss out alongside the injured Geoff Cameron and Marc Munies.
Given the success that Sissoko and Wijnaldum enjoyed on the wings since the switch to 4-4-2, I can only hope that McClaren resists the temptation to slip one or both of them into the middle to fill in for the suspended Colback, however given that Tioté has been hauled off at half-time for two games running, I suspect we may be seeing a full refresh in central midfield. Personally I’d start Anita and Tioté in the middle to keep our creative powerhouses in the roles they’ve found success in.
To the surprise of few, Dummett has not been performing well as a modern full-back, he just isn’t comfortably enough on the ball to do the job demanded, especially when playing behind a winger with freedom to roam like Wijnaldum. A more rational option might be Haidara, but Mbabu impressed when he was very much thrown in at the deep end earlier this season, and so it’d be nice to give him a chance on merit, provided that he is now fit.
Two good performances in a row, so let’s make it three and truly get our season underway with our first back-to-back home wins in a year, although to be fair we’ve not really done much of the winning thing in 2015. Mitrovic, Wijnaldum, and Mbabu to score for us, but they’ll get at least one to keep things interesting. 3-1.
Where to Watch / Listen
Tickets are still on sale and should be available from the match day box office up until kick-off. The match is not televised live in the UK. Local radio commentary, as always, is on BBC Newcastle.
How do you think we’ll get on in this game? Have your say in our discussion thread.
Latest posts by Cal (see all)
- Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Sunderland – 20/03/16 - 20 March 2016
- Preview: Arsenal vs Newcastle Utd – 02/01/16 - 2 January 2016
- Preview: Tottenham vs Newcastle Utd – 13/12/15 - 13 December 2015
- Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Liverpool – 06/12/15 - 6 December 2015
- Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Leicester City – 21/11/15 - 21 November 2015