Alan Pardew - Newcastle news

Many a Newcastle fan could be forgiven that their side have a Premier League game this coming Tuesday, when they travel to the midlands to take on Birmingham in the re-arranged fixture that was originally postponed in December due to the snow that halted the nation.

Birmingham are gradually moving away from the wrong end of the table after some vital wins in recent weeks against West Ham and Stoke. A win for the Blues tomorrow would see them overtake their black and white counterparts in the table.

There will also be added spice to the match for Obafemi Martins, after the former Magpies striker returned to England on loan from Rubin Kazan. Martins was something of a fan favourite during his time on Tyneside but his inconsistent performances and questionable spending sprees ensured he wasn’t greatly missed when he left for Wolfsburg.

Newcastle skipper Kevin Nolan has this week been charged with speeding offences and subsequently banned from driving for 60 days…he’ll be on the bus down with the rest of the lads then!

Alan Pardew’s men dominated the game against Blackburn and the post-match comments about him being pleased with the performance lead to the suggestion that no unforced changes will be made for the trip to St Andrews.

One change that could be forced is the withdrawal of Danny Simpson, with the right-back suffering a whack on the leg in the closing stages of Saturday’s game and being replaced by James Perch.

Other than Simpson, there is no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game, with (deep breath) Alan Smith, Hatem Ben Arfa, Dan Gosling, Stephen lreland, Steven Taylor, Ryan Taylor, Kazenga Lua Lua, Haris Vuckic and Shola Ameobi all missing.

Shefki Kuqi made his black and white bow at the weekend but should find himself on the bench again this time round, with Lovenkrands and Best looking likely to be given the chance for their fledgling partnership to mature.

As for “Big ‘Eck”, he will be without Scott Dann and James McFadden, hardly a selection headache when you compare it with Pardew’s! The toughest decision he has to make is to whether he reinstates Cameron Jerome to the starting XI, or sticks with Martins. Jerome looked impressive when he appeared from the bench to replace Martins on Saturday, setting up Nikola Zigic’s winner in his cameo.

Speaking of Zigic, the giant Serb has stumbled into some fine form of late and looks to be finding his feet in England. He looks lively in the box and will have to be marshalled well by the Newcastle rearguard. One thing we could surprisingly not be scared about though is his aerial ability. Despite being 6 foot 8, the Serb can only jump about two inches off the floor and isn’t the best when he connects with it, but will still have to be marked tightly for his knock downs and flick ons.

No doubt the headlines on Tuesday night will belong to whichever team does the best in the Champions League that day and you will have to look slightly harder to even find out the Newcastle result. St Andrew’s is the Premier League ground where the fewest goals have been scored, so it’s not going to be a classic. A win is needed though, with home games to come and an unbeaten run not too unlikely, the midlands isn’t a bad place to start.

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  1. Gordon

    Honestly Peter Lovenkrands isnt up to it in the premiership at all, always running around like a headless chook when hes got no hope of stealing the ball, and then throwing his back in agony after making a forward (as the ball gets cut off) run as if he was mighty close to getting the ball through to him. I know Shefki Kuqi isnt the most highly quality striker going around, however I would much prefer him or Ranger start then Lovenkrands.

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