After another week of turmoil, Newcastle United will be desperate to register a much needed victory against West Bromwich Albion and ease their growing relegation fears.
The post-match comments of boss John Carver following another chastening defeat at Leicester City supported the theory that all is not well behind the scenes on Tyneside. It was an eighth straight loss, having begun both halves abysmally and then seen two of their back four carelessly sent off.
Some believe that Carver is out of his depth, but it has been confirmed that he will take charge of the remaining three fixtures – including this one – despite a last-ditch attempt to install Derby County Head Coach Steve McClaren. Then, captain Fabricio Coloccini made a plea to the club’s disgruntled supporters by writing an open letter.
On the pitch, everything is a mess. Some players have appeared to be lacking in effort, while they look horribly short on quality all round. And now, with the gap to the drop zone now just two points and their rivals beginning to pick up results, things have reached a critical stage and a win here is a must.
West Brom now have nothing to worry about after a fine defensive performance saw them claim their second successive victory away to Manchester United and thus move on to 40 points, a great achievement again from Tony Pulis, who will definitely ensure that the Magpies have it tough yet again. The Midlands side come into this one as favourites to claim a third win in four games.
Darryl Janmaat and Mike Williamson are both suspended for Newcastle, who do have Papiss Cisse back after a seven-match ban. Siem De Jong misses out with a thigh problem.
West Brom are hopeful that midfielder James Morrison can return to the starting XI. If not, they may name the same team that won at Old Trafford.
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