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  1. Andrew Davis

NUFC blog: is Freddie ready?

There has been speculation all week over whether or not we can manage to sign another goalkeeper. Numerous names have been discussion - notably Victor Valdes of Manchester United.

I contacted former Newcastle goalie Steve Harper.

Andy Woodman was absent from training for most of the week and it seemed apparent that - unless there was a shock from the medical department - Freddie could make his debut early Saturday.

We even heard from Jamaal Lascelles, a young defender, about how much he would love to play.

As expected, it's the same old Newcastle starting line up. There's a functional midfield with Tiote - Anita. This sends out a 'safety first' message to fans who want a more expansive team.

There had been noises made in the last couple of days that De Jong might be a surprise inclusion after his one reserve outing earlier in the week.

What we will expect is a hustle-and-bustle south coast team - and that's what we'll get... for the first 25 minutes - a full throttle Bournemouth team. Throw in the fact that we have an injured GK, we are looking like a tired team who seem to have forgotten their morning coffee!

Somehow though, against all of this, we take a fantastic lead through Ayoze Perez, who with an excellent flick from Gini takes the ball early. It's a shock to fans who had seen a dismal performance up until then. It's chance after chance with Woodman making four saves and a near miracle to stop a soaring ex-NUFC player in Gosling. It's worth mentioning that he looks a different player since leaving us the previous season.

Second half starts like the first - it is save after save from Woodman. It's simply incredible how the hustle-and-bustle tempo of the home team has not led to a level score. It's hard to watch this. Perez, who appeared to throw himself on the floor, summed up a team in panic. Somehow we manage to cling on to our second win in 22 months away from home.

Even with the game won fans are far from happy, but on a day of reckoning, we are out of the bottom three and we send our south coast rivals back into our old spot.

We must do better than this but we can regroup after a simply sensational crocked Woody performance.

SAFC Blog: Sam’s still finding out who can do what

By Martyn McFadden

They say a week’s a long time in football, and they’re right – sometimes.

The week following the derby was way too short, especially because of the way it ended in calamitous fashion at Goodison Park.

This past week has been far too long, with all those goals still pinging around in my head. Did they herald a serious end to the “new manager” effect, or were they just a hiccup?

Sam had tried a new formation at Goodison, but changed back to four defenders against Southampton, and it brought a much improved performance defensively. What we gave at the back, however, we seemed to lose elsewhere as there was precious little fluent attacking play and gave their keeper precious little to do. Having said that, it was only a moment of madness from the otherwise cool-as-you-like M’Vila which gifted Southampton the penalty and the goal. Frustrating.

Apparently Sam has been giving the player homework in the form of statistics to analyse. I’m all for that – anything that helps them to see where they can improve things is OK by me. Mind, 90% of statistics are made up, according to Vic Reeves, so perhaps we should take that with a pinch of salt.

So, will the coming week be too long or too short? As it’s actually sixteen days to the Palace game, it’ll be far too long, and we’ll no doubt be wondering if Sam will change things again. O’Shea should be fit, but the defence did OK yesterday. Catts should be fit, and should return. Whether we’ll ever see an unchanged side this season is another matter, as it seems at times as if Sam’s still finding out who can do what. Let’s hope he finds out soon.


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