Newcastle Club Focus – Magpies aim to maintain momentum against Everton

Third place Newcastle will be looking maintain their unbeaten start to season at home to Everton. A win in their Saturday lunchtime fixture would see Alan Pardew’s side go above Manchester United into second for a day at least until the Red Devils face Sunderland. Standing in their way is an Everton side that has made a mixed start to the season. In Newcastle’s previous game they produced the perfect away performance to defeat Stoke 3-1. That result was another indicator of how far the Tynesiders have progressed in this campaign.

Manager Alan Pardew will have to make at least one change to his usual starting XI as Gabriel Obertan is side-lined with an injury. The French winger has an infection in his toe which will rule him out for up to one month. Against Stoke Obertan produced one of his best performances since joining in the summer from Manchester United. The 22-year-old has at times been inconsistent this season but on Monday night he was a constant menace with his pace down the right, setting up Demba Ba for the opening goal. Pardew will be relieved that he has plenty of options to compensate for Obertan’s absence. Compatriots Hatem Ben Arfa and Sylvain Marveaux are likely to come into contention after mainly being consigned to starts in the League Cup up until now.

Newcastle will be roared on by extra fans against Everton with up to 4,000 supporters buying season tickets at reduced rates. There was little to choose between the two sides last season with the away side victorious on both occasions. Last season’s 2-1 home defeat was a rare blip for the Magpies who have generally enjoyed the better of the games in the north east. Cheik Tiote remains doubtful for the game, while Obertan joins Mike Williamson and Shola Ameobi on the long term absentee list.

Out-of-favour striker Peter Lovenkrands has admitted he is likely to leave Newcastle in the near future. The experienced forward has fallen down the pecking order since the start of the season and has made just the one league start. He has not even made the bench in the last two league games despite being fully fit. Lovenkrands said: “I’ve talked to the coach and he would like to extend my contract, but I cannot wait for that. In January I can talk to whoever I want, so my agent is working to find me another club.”

However Pardew, who is unwilling to let the Dane move in January and does not want to lose a popular member of the squad, said: “Peter is a figure we love here. He is very important to us.” With Demba Ba set to play in the African Cup of Nations midway through the season Pardew may need all his strikers to compensate for his absence over several weeks.

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