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Newcastle preview

A return to the 'real' stuff tomorrow after what seems an eternity since the Middlesbrough win due to the International fixtures and all the hyped-up media coverage and then inevitable fall-out regardless of the result.

What was of concern for City fans of course was that Micah Richards was stretchered off, and is ruled out of tomorrows game at least (with some reports suggesting his ankle ligament damage is season ending).

I understand Stuart Pearce's talk of it being an honour to represent England, but with Richards struggling/suffering from a calf injury should he even have been risked? Can you imagine certain other Premiership managers allowing certain players to have played? I think not.

Perhaps Pearce's talk of wanting to rest Richards at some stage has now come back to haunt him, although he has claimed he will be able to utilise his squad between now and the rest of the season.

A tricky fixture awaits us then tomorrow, in what Pearce has identified as a three game period which could secure our safety. Despite Newcastle suffering a couple of poor results recently, they have generally been on a decent run of form and St. James Park has not always been a happy hunting ground for us. also takes a look at the history between the two sides.

The news that they are unbeaten at home therefore does not bode well, and of course they have Antoine Sibierski in their ranks and will undoubtedly be looking to score against us.

Team news (courtesy of BBC Sport):

Newcastle midfielder Nicky Butt returns from a one-match ban.
Defenders Stephen Carr (groin), Celestine Babayaro and Peter Ramage (both hamstring) are available again.

Manchester City will be without England full-back Micah Richards who was stretchered off playing against Andorra in midweek.
With his remaining internationals having returned relatively unscathed, Pearce would look to retain an otherwise unchanged side.

Newcastle (from): Given, Harper, Solano, Carr, Babayaro, Edgar, Taylor, Bramble, Onyewu, Moore, Ramage, Huntington, Butt, Parker, Milner, Duff, Emre, N'Zogbia, Pattison, Troisi, Martins, Dyer, Sibierski, Luque, Carroll, LuaLua.

Man City (from): Isaksson, Weaver, Richards, Dunne, Distin, Ball, Trabelsi, Barton, Ireland, Beasley, Samaras, Corradi, Sun Jihai, Dabo, Vassell, Hamann, Dickov, Sturridge, Mpenza, Miller.

I don't expect a classic encounter by any means, and I'm sure Pearce would be happy to head home with a point in the bag. Expect a tight formation, with not a great deal being risked with the hope of perhaps snatching a win.


Newcastle 1 City 1

It is of course coming to the time of the year when other results begin to become more of a factor, and down at the bottom there are a couple of clashes which could shake things up around the relegation zone. Charlton will be fancying their chances of a win against Wigan, whilst I'm sure Neil Warnock will have one eye on Upton Park to see if Gareth Southgate is again in charitable mood when it comes to his 'mates'.