Danny Simpson - Newcastle United News

After Monday night’s excellent win over Stoke, Newcastle are back in Premier League action early on Saturday for a lunchtime kick-off against Everton. A win for the Geordies could momentarily take them up to 2nd in the table, with Man United not playing until later against the Mackems.

If that were to happen, it would go further to quieten the cynics that wrote off Newcastle’s chances of any major success before the season kicked off. Getting rid of our “top” players looked a suicide attempt on first glance, but the replacements have been nothing short of top drawer, with Messrs Cabaye, Ba and Obertan all looking more than second-rate signings.

Obertan has been the most surprising of the lot according to many, with his move from Bordeaux to Man United almost ruining his promising career. Described as nothing more than a brainless winger with no end product, Monday night proved that those doubters had no substance, when Obertan delivered a stunning cross for Demba Ba to head home.

The form of the Frenchman has also kept another summer signing, Sylvain Marveaux, on the bench for most of the season. The former Rennes winger has been impressive in substitute and reserve appearances since joining Newcastle and had it not been for the form of Obertan, he’d have had the chance to cement his place in the first XI.

However, tomorrow Obertan will be missing with a toe injury which will sideline him for 3-4 weeks, meaning Marveaux might get his chance to impress. Hatem Ben Arfa is the other option for Pardew, but the manager has said in the past that he sees the former Marseille man as a central option behind a striker, rather than a winger.

Shola Ameobi and Mike Williamson will be out with injury and Cheick Tiote will be looked at before the game to see if he is fit enough to play following a knee injury. If the Ivorian isn’t available, Danny Guthrie will be favourite to continue after he impressed against Stoke, although former Everton man Dan Gosling could also be in line for a start should he be needed.

David Moyes will welcome back Royston Drenthe from suspension but serial hacker Marouane Fellaini will serve a one-match-ban. Drenthe has been a revelation since joining on loan from Real Madrid and is playing for a new club, after admitting he has no real future at the Bernabeu.

Former Newcastle defender Sylvain Distin, Phil Neville and Tim Cahill will all be assessed before the game, with all three struggling with injuries leading up to kick-off.

It was another summer where David Moyes failed to spend any money on improving his squad and he will again rely on loan signings and free transfers to fuel a push for Europe. They lack a real goal-threat, with Louis Saha not prolific and no one even cementing down a first-team spot up front with the Frenchman. Interestingly enough, Demba Ba has eight goals this season – just two less than the whole Everton squad put together – and was signed on a free, a bargain missed by Moyes and co.

A win would give Newcastle their best start to a season since 1994-95 when they were a serious title threat throughout. Somehow I don’t think the pundits will be shouting about a Toon title charge should we see off Everton tomorrow, but it will give us a bit more confidence going into the three games with the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea.