Club Focus – Newcastle United – Ex-Magpie returns just as window shuts

Championship table-toppers Newcastle United had a quiet time on transfer deadline day with one player, Peter Lovenkrands, brought into the club and no players leaving. In recent years transfer deadline day has been quite manic on Tyneside – few people will forget the signing of Michael Owen from Real Madrid in 2005. Despite being frustrated with several last ditch transfer bids most fans will be relieved that no players have departed from an already wafer thin squad. The closure of the window will allow players to settle down – for a few months at least – and focus on the goal of achieving an instant return to the Premier League. Although some cynics could suggest that the closing of the transfer window will see a decrease in performances as players are unable to put themselves in the shop window for the time being.

Reports in the local press have suggested that Newcastle attempted to sign defenders Craig Cathcart and Matthew Kilgallon and Aston Villa striker Marlon Harewood on Tuesday. With the loan market due to re-open again next week for non-Premier League teams, the chances are that Newcastle will be adding to their squad. Caretaker manager Chris Hughton, a leading contender for the manager of the month award, has been given the green light to bring players in. He said: “In five days’ time we hope to bring in loan signings. These will be initial one month loan deals that could be extended to three. We made moves on Tuesday and they didn’t work, but most importantly for me we didn’t lose anybody else.” Newcastle will likely attempt to take Manchester United pair Cathcart and Darron Gibson on loan. A move could also be made for Aston Villa forward Marlon Harewood, who is well down the pecking order at Villa Park. Strengthening the defence is a must with Hungarian youngster Tamas Kadar providing the only real back-up for injuries.

Fans will have few problems recognising their only permanent signing of the summer as Peter Lovenkrands re-signed for Newcastle. The former Rangers and Schalke player joined the club last January but was released at the end of the season. Lovenkrands made a good impression in his first spell, scoring against West Brom, Manchester United and Middlesbrough. There was plenty of interest in his signature this summer with some Premier League clubs even eyeing him up. Lovenkrands gives Newcastle options out wide or as a striker and should be a strong player at Championship level.

Danny Guthrie, Newcastle’s match winner from their previous game against Leicester City, believes that morale is at an all time high in the dressing room. Like many players this season Guthrie is enjoying playing for Newcastle and getting wins under his belt. The former Liverpool player said: “It seems a funny thing to say given everything that has happened, but this is probably the happiest I’ve been at Newcastle United. I know things have not been ideal, but the dressing room has a completely different atmosphere to last year. We’ve all pulled together and it’s a good place to be.” For a player who has progressed through the Manchester United and Liverpool academies Guthrie is yet to fulfil his full potential. This has been mainly down to injuries and a succession of short-term managers. His goal against Leicester underlined his talent and a good run in the team will only increase his confidence.

Good news on a takeover for Newcastle remains in the distance with little sign of any deals being made soon. It looks almost a certainty that Mike Ashley will be staying put despite deadlines being extended seemingly every week. Barry Moat and an American consortium are yet to come up with the money to buy Newcastle and Ashley seems reluctant to budge from his £100 million asking price.

Newcastle do not return to action until a week on Sunday due to international fixtures, although few players will be featuring for their countries. The only senior players to be called up are Fabricio Coloccini and Geremi, who are away with Argentina and Cameroon respectively. The break should allow tired players to rest and the likes of Shola Ameobi and Nicky Butt to recuperate from their injuries.

Newcastle United Club Focus

Pre-season woe – July 29
Fans say goodbye to a hero – August 5
Bridge over troubled water? – August 12
Local boy steps up – August 18
Home-grown strike partnership takes effect – August 21
Geordie resurgence gains momentum – August 25
Takeover still talk of the Toon – August 28
St James’ Park Ranger keeps Magpies firing – September 1
Ex-Magpie returns just as window shuts – September 4

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