Date: 25th February 2011 at 8:23pm
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Let it not be said that promoted club Newcastle United have been playing above themselves this year. The plucky club from the north east have surprised a few people this season, although they got a right arse kicking at T’Reebok last November, self imploding in the kind of way that gets a manager fired. Which it did.

Tomorrow will be a different story. Except for the fact that they have sold their best striker and replaced him with Johan Elmander Shefki Kuqi.

No, really.

I’d be happy to say that Newcastle are better at St James’ Park than they are aware. But they have gained more points away from Gallowgate. Not a good sign when a resurgent Bolton Wanderers are coming to town.

Vital Quotes:

‘If we can win on Saturday we would achieve the same points total that we reached for the whole of last season.’ St Owen reflects on a job in progress that’s been well done so far. Oh, that’s the WHOLE OF LAST SEASON, Mr Gary ‘I’m At A Much Bigger Club Now’ Megson.

‘This is a side that recently went to Birmingham and won and should have probably beaten Blackburn as well. They’ve obviously recently scored four goals in that game against Arsenal so we know the dangers they pose. They like to attack and have been a breath of fresh air this season and in Kevin Nolan they have a wonderful leader.’ Oh stop. You’re getting me all teary and nostalgic again.

‘It’s a big game in terms of the season. They’ve got some good players, the squad is thicker than ours in quality, there’s no doubt about that, and that’s where we should be. They are having a good season on the back of it, but we think it’s a crucial game and we will try our best to win it.’ Thicker on quality no doubt, Mr Pardew, but not thicker on numbery. Hang on. Is numbery even a word?

Newcastle United Team News:

According to the BBC, Lovenkrands has tweaked his thigh, while Steven Taylor and Ryan Taylor (weren’t they in Duran Duran) are back in the squad.

Shola Ameobi has a fractured cheekbone and is wearing a mask, but the BBC reckon he’s out.

Player to watch: Kevin Nolan

There is only one home player to watch and it’s their captain. He got a great reception from right round the ground at T’Reebok in November, and then tried, and succeeded, to help us win, giving away a penalty and getting himself booked, before doing what he used to do towards the end of his career with us. Stand, point, shout and do nothing.

This is not to say that his career hasn’t been revitalised at St James’, and his goals this season have reminded us all of the kid that could score for fun. Hopefully, he’ll be back to shouting and pointing to no effect tomorrow. But let nothing take away from what a fantastic servant he was for Bolton.

Bolton Wanderers Team News:

Gretar Steinsson is back on the road to recovery, but this game may be a game too early,so it looks like Paul Robinson on the right and Marcos Alonso on the left.

Jussi should return in goal and Danny Sturridge should return up front, in place of Klasnic.

Lee Chung-Yong’s had a week off, at last, so should start on the right.

Player to watch: Daniel Sturridge

It’s worked the last two times I’ve made him the one to watch, so a third time shouldn’t be asking too much, should it?

Match Facts & Stats

A win by two goals or more could see Bolton go sixth, at least temporarily. A win by Newcastle will see them leap frog us.

Newcastle hold a 50-41 overall record against us in the league, with the record extending to 36-12 in Newcastle. However, they have not won a 3pm Saturday kick off at home in the Premier League since 2008, against……Bolton Wanderers.

Bolton’s leading scorer in the fixture is, naturally, Sir Nat with eleven, between 1948 and 1957. In the Premier League, El Hadji Diouf and SuperKevinDavies share the honours with four apiece.

Ref Watch:

Chris Foy last took charge of a Bolton game when we played Chelsea at home, but let’s not talk about that. The game before that was the away game at Sunderland which ended up……..oh, right.

He also took charge of the 4-2 demolition of Spurs, so let’s focus on that, shall we?

Match Prediction:

Having read Twitter, some Newcastle fans appear to think it will be a walkover for them. I dare to disagree. 2-0, all the way.

Next Fixtures:

Villa at home, before the quarter final at Birmingham.


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