After an extended international break, Newcastle return to Premier League action on Monday night when they travel to Goodison Park to take on Everton.

However, the break has not been good for Alan Pardew’s squad, as he now has to negotiate an injury-hit squad ahead of a tough trip to Merseyside. Tim Krul – who is now the Netherlands’ number one goalkeeper – will miss out with an elbow injury, while Captain Fabricio Coloccini is sidelined with a hamstring problem.

Add that pair to the already missing Cheick Tiote, Ryan Taylor and Danny Simpson and you can see the task looming over the Magpies come Monday night. Shola and Sammy Ameobi are expected to be involved to give Pardew some room for manoeuvre, although his young squad will be stretched to the limit.

James Perch and Mike Williamson will play in defence alongside Davide Santon and Steven Taylor and if any of those pick up injuries or suspensions, Pardew will surely be ruing the chance to open his chequebook in the summer transfer window.

As for the in-form Toffees, David Moyes will be hoping for a return to the form that seen them record an opening day victory over Manchester United, rather than the sort that caused their 2-0 demise against West Brom.

The recent news coming out regarding the Hillsborough disaster seems to have ignited the whole of Merseyside and Newcastle will have to be wary of a buoyant Goodison outfit. Despite Liverpool being bitter rivals of the Toffees, the last week’s headlines have united both sides of the Mersey. The feeling was summed up perfectly by the Goodison Park club shop having a blue shirt with the words “Justice for the 96” printed on the back in the front window.

It’s another of the big shirt sellers that the main team news surrounds though, as Steven Pienaar has not been ruled available or injured. The South African pulled out of his country’s World Cup qualifier over the weekend but may be
fit for the visit of the Geordies. Former Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson is out with a thigh injury.

Newcastle will be trying to avenge the 3-1 defeat handed to them by Everton on the final day of last season, a loss that ensured the Magpies will be playing in the Europa League rather than the Champions League this season.

If the Geordies can manage to turn over Moyes’ side on Monday night, it would be a real statement of intent to those who dismiss Pardew’s side as too small to make an impact on the higher echelons of the Premier League table.

By Chief Writer, Marley Anderson