Apologies for the late post – any earlier and it would probably have been one long rant anyway.
I do have concerns tonight.
Is Targett available after going off injured on Wednesday? He put in an exceptional performance in defence and it showed just how well he had played when Taylor came on. In fact Targett has consistently defended well in recent games.
McGinn will be missing having picked up his 5th red card and a mandatory one match ban but Trezeguet comes back into the squad which is good news.
There have been a lot of calls for Barry to be included on the bench and if we’re not going to acquire a striker in this window, then it might not be a bad call, if only for experience. The issue I feel though is that he’s not currently training with the first team squad so it seems unlikely.
So, assuming Targett is fit, I can’t see Smith fiddling with the team too much. Trezeguet may come in for Traore or even for McGinn although I suspect Smith might keep faith with Ramsey.
Smith will be watching from the stands having picked up a one match touchline ban for telling Moss what a crap ref he is. Strange world when you get punished for telling the truth. I loved Smith’s comment – I’ve heard him (Moss) called a lot worse!
So prediction – Newcastle are on a terrible run of form but have been missing two of their key players through Long Covid although Saint-Maxim could be back and will add an attacking threat. Villa have only one one of the last 14 meetings with Newcastle and that in the same fixture last year.
Newcastle will be cautious as is Bruce’s want and look to counter attack on the break – something we seem peculiarly vulnerable to at home.
If we’re on our game and not too badly affected after Wednesday night, fitness wise, then it’s a game we should be looking to win.