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This weekend sees the welcome return of the Premier League after England’s dodgy performance in the Euro 2012 Qualifiers. Our lot welcome probably the second most unpredictable team in the league to SJP, Wigan.

You can never bet on a Wigan result, same goes with a Newcastle one, so a fixture between the two sides is a betting man’s nightmare. It hasn’t stopped Mark Lawrenson though, with the boring old git predicting a 2-1 victory for the Toon. For once I’m of the same opinion; we should have too much for Roberto Martinez’s boys. The key word in that sentence is “should”.

Newcastle have been given a boost in defence with Fabricio Coloccini recovering from a groin problem he picked up against Man City. That leaves Chris Hughton with a selection headache; he must choose whether to reinstate the Argentine into the first XI or stick with Sol Campbell and Mike Williamson, who played well enough against City to be understandably gutted if one of them is dropped.

Hughton must also choose which striker he wants to play up top. Last week Carroll was “dropped” and Ameobi was selected ahead of the future England international. Predictably enough though, Shola was typically ineffective and it wouldn’t surprise me if Carroll gets the nod this week.

Danny Simpson and Danny Guthrie are close to a return to the team too, but they are not expected to do so this week. Both came through a reserve game without any ill effects and next week’s game against West Ham is more realistic target for a comeback.

Obviously missing are Hatem Ben Arfa, Steven Taylor, Steve Harper, Dan Gosling and Leon Best. Taylor is closest to returning to fitness but whether he’ll actually get back into the team once he’s back is another question entirely.

Wigan should have recent Toon transfer target Tom Cleverley back from injury but former Magpies defender Gary Caldwell will miss out with a hip injury. Paraguayan defender Antonio Alcaraz is doubtful with an ankle injury.

Former Newcastle winger Charles “Insomnia” N’ Zogbia should play some part (if he can be bothered) meaning the Gallowgate faithful will no doubt remind him of his time on Tyneside which mainly consisted of moaning and crying.

We will be looking to end the run of two consecutive defeats and should really do so tomorrow. Wigan are by no means a great team and they have more bad days at the office than good ones. I suspect they will be right down the wrong end of the table come the end of the season and if we end up down there too, we need to be taking all the points off them when we play them. We simply have to be beating sides like Wigan if we seriously want to stay in this division.


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