Newcastle’s come from behind victory in the Tyne-Tees derby certainly makes our trip to St. James’ Park on Saturday much more interesting.
The Magpies will know sesne that they could be as little as a single win away from securing their Premier League survival. As Hull can’t seem to buy a win at the moment, three points could well prove enough. And what price those three points coming at the weekend?
We’ve been particularly generous to Newcastle in the recent past – there was the early Christmas present of a last-gasp penalty at the Cottage last season (awarded by Saturday’s ref, Howard Webb, coincidentally) and a timely first win for Kevin Keegan on his brief return to St. James’ Park in what had been billed as a vital six-pointer. Mark Viduka seems to specialise in coming into form towards the end of the season when there’s a Fulham defence to terrorise and a new contract to earn. He was tuning up pretty nicely against his former club last night.
The latest Geordie messiah, Alan Shearer, hasn’t got off to a particularly auspicious start in his first managerial job. Mind you, he seems set to embark on the kind of Lawrie Sanchez point-gathering run that secures him the permanent job. For the Geordies’ sake, I hope the England captain proves a better boss than Sanchez.
Shearer’s called for more of the same against a Fulham side that he recognises has improved a great deal.
I’ve asked for three huge performances. They’ve given me one and there’s another one needed on Saturday against a very good Fulham side.
This was the first game of three. We asked them to go out and get three points – they’ve done that, and I thought they were magnificent in difficult circumstances.
There’s still a long way to go. I really don’t know what’s going to be enough but another performance like that on Saturday and we will be confident we can get three points.
Apparently, Chris Hughton and Iain Dowie were in the Riverside to see us beat Villa last week. Someone who sat close enough said that Hughton wasn’t taking too many notes. He scribbled a few things in a new notebook in the first half, but both he and Dowie sat and watched the second half open-mouthed. They left pretty sharpish after Dio’s cheeky backheel sealed the win. We’ll see what tactical insight their scouting trip inspires in a few days time.