Newcastle Club Focus – Magpies avoid Carling Cup upset

Newcastle narrowly avoided becoming the latest top flight side to exit the Carling Cup but still needed extra time to defeat League One Scunthorpe United. A late goal from a familiar name allowed the Magpies to recover from a 1-0 deficit and another potential giant killing. Youngster Sammy Ameobi may not be as well known as his older brother but he showed great skill to score the winner, suggesting he could also have a long term future at St James’ Park. Before his introduction, the away side appeared laboured and short of ideas in the unglamorous surroundings of Glanford Park. But the arrival of Ameobi and fellow teenager Harris Vuckic provided the energy and inspiration that was much needed.

Newcastle was also indebted to a fine goalkeeping performance from Dutchman Tim Krul. The 23-year-old produced several top class saves to keep Scunthorpe at bay at crucial stages of the game. Krul has now established himself as the number one keeper at the club with his experienced rival Steve Harper not even on the bench. At the other end of the field there was a further reminder of the need for a new striker before the end of the transfer window. Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands missed several chances between themselves while Demba Ba’s slow start at his latest club continued.

Meanwhile the future of Joey Barton remains undecided despite the midfielder travelling to the capital for talks with Queens Park Rangers. The 28-year-old is available on a free transfer and the newly promoted side have made an official approach for Barton. It is believed that QPR are willing to match or even increase the player’s wages as they look to make a statement of intent under new owner Tony Fernandes.

However, nothing involving Barton is rarely straightforward and he is yet to fully commit his future to the Loftus Road based side. When Barton was asked by Sky Sports News about the chances of the deal being completed he said: “I’m not sure. There are still a number of things to be sorted out. It’s a process that you have to take step by step and that’s the stage we are at the moment.” There is a school of thought that Barton still wants to remain on Tyneside and see out of the end of his current contract. He recently tweeted: “Don’t want to leave Newcastle… I’ve made that clear but my hands are tied.”

If Barton is to go then it would be the departure of another experienced figure who played a key part last season. He has featured in the club’s opening two league games and was booked on both occasions. Although not at his best in either game there was no doubting his commitment to the team cause.

The Magpies host Fulham at the weekend looking to continue their unbeaten start to the new season. Tiredness could be an issue, with both teams in action on Thursday night. The Cottagers travelled to the Ukraine mid-week where they suffered a 1-0 defeat, continuing their poor start under Martin Jol.

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