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Derby Preview – Sunday

The dust has just about settled after a horrendous night in London which saw Newcastle United dumped out of the Capital One Cup having lost 4-0 to Tottenham Hotspur and now attentions have turned to the small matter of the Tyne-Wear Derby on Sunday lunchtime.

Given the manner of the defeat on Wednesday, the importance of getting a result this time round has escalated higher than it had been prior to the embarrassment down Spurs. Having lost the last three derbies in a row, Alan Pardew is under immense pressure to not become the first manager ever to lose four consecutive games versus Sunderland.

Rewriting history is not an option for Pardew; whilst he will comfortably remain in charge of NUFC whatever happens in the derby he would more than likely be back to where he was at the start of the season with the majority of fans calling for his head. This would be completely understandable if it did rear its head again considering how poor 2014 has been on the whole and the previous seasons relegation battle.

I think Pardew would take a draw now if you offered him one. It would stop the rot after the last three inept performances against Sunderland but, in my opinion, that would not be enough. Having been humiliated, the last two home games especially, nothing but a win will appease many Newcastle United fans.

Pardew’s excuse for defeat is already written in the shape of Jak Alnwick who must be sapped of any sort of confidence having conceded eight goals in the last two matches. He has made costly errors but the defence have not really helped. Looking at the situation, it might be that Alnwick may never be properly ready to be a top flight goalkeeper. The board, however, must take their share of the blame having not written a recall clause into Karl Darlow’s contract when he was loaned back out to Nottingham Forest. It can also be suggested that the club itself have failed to prepare Alnwick suitably to step in like he has had to with his only senior experience being in the Conference.

Pride needs to be restored and competing on the pitch is a minimum requirement on Sunday afternoon. Will United rise to the occasion or let us down in typical NUFC style?
Howay the Lads.

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“The Gallowgate Shots Podcast” – Recording Starts

So after months of planning and taking the wrong routes when reaching a fork in the road on numerous occasions it’s finally here.

Tomorrow sees the first recording of “The GallowgateShots Podcast” , and for the show to be a success we need you all to be involved.

Throughout the show we will be reading out your tweets regarding the topics of discussions being mentioned during the recording.
The best way to contact the show is by using the hashtag #ShotsCast , using the tag will help us group all your views, questions and points together in one place and give your the best chance of your tweet being used.
We expect a few more bumps in the road in the first initial recordings of the podcast but cut us some slack and try to remember that we will most likely be half cut by the time the microphones get turned on.
Podcast subscription is now available on iTunes.

 

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No Police Escort – Bold but Risky

News broke earlier today that Sunderland fans arriving in Newcastle city centre on December 21st to attend the Tyne/Wear derby will NOT be escorted to the ground by Northumbria Police.

The usual strong Police presence that normally floods the streets of Tyneside separating rivals fans from each other with a human barricade will be taking a back seat with escorting duties and letting fans walk up to St James Park together.

To say Newcastle and Sunderland fans are at constant logger heads is a ridiculous myth, coming from and growing up in South Tyneside a lot of my close friends and even relatives are “Mackems” and I’ve even watched a handful of derbies amongst a mixture of both sets of fans and not once have I spotted any serious disagreements or violence. But the atmosphere in a pub outside of the city centre isn’t in the same league as the atmosphere in and around the ground and I fear that this decision from Northumbria police is a huge mistake and is only inviting trouble.

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The police are trying to use the “festive spirit” and recent fundraising from Sunderland fans ( MH17 – John & Liam ) as a motive for a “peaceful” derby. Which is all well and good but this isn’t the Merseyside derby, nothing like it. We don’t walk side by side , hand by hand on match days, we don’t buy half-half scarves, we don’t sit by someone wearing the rivals colours inside the ground, all connections and ties to opposition fans are put on hold until the day ends.

Having said that I don’t think that there’d be many fans from either side that would want a “violent” derby, we love this derby, we are proud of the historic rivalry that we have with our neighbours and I wouldn’t change a thing about the way most fans conduct themselves on match day. It’s no surprise that every club has it’s very own set of immature fans that would be more than happy to cause aggravation and make a nuisance of themselves on match day which is why I feel that the escort is essential.
It adds to the whole atmosphere, watching the rivals walking up towards the ground is one of the highlights of the day, chants from both fans echoing down the closed off main roads are spine chilling and it definitely sets a bench mark of intensity as you enter SJP to cheer on your team to win bragging rights until the next meeting.

I’m proud of this derby, I’m proud of this rivalry, but the main priority is to keep both sets of fans safe from idiots.

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Tim Krul – Sidelined

A training ground injury is set to rule Newcastle’s shot stopper Tim Krul out for up to a month, just in time for the busy Winter schedule.

Newcastle’s defence has been on top form over the last 6 games, conceding just once in all six wins and hopefully Rob Elliot can step in to upkeep United’s solid defensive record.

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Elliot last featured for Newcastle in a historic 0-2 win over Manchester City which resulted in the premier league Champions being knocked out of the League Cup.

The Irishman is set to face teams including West Ham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Sunderland in Krul’s absence over the next month.

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NUFC – Injury Update

At the point of Ryan Taylor’s withdrawal against Queen Park Rangers, Newcastle United had 12 players missing. R Taylor joined S Taylor along with Abeid, Riviere, Coloccini, Aarons, Obertan, Tiote, de Jong, Santon, Good and Jonas on the list.

News from Pardew’s press conference ahead of the weekend trip to West Ham is that players are starting to return to training.

Considering the lengthy list it is a testament to the players and the manager that we have managed to win six games on the spin in all competitions.

Coloccini, Tiote, Steven Taylor and Riviere are all in with a chance of playing a part on Saturday- the question is, should they?

Coloccini as captain and in excellent form before missing last weeks game should come back in. He is the best defender at the club.

Steven Taylor played well before his injury but Dummett’s form at centre back means that Taylor will probably be back on bench duty at the weekend.

If it weren’t for the injury Abeid suffered on international duty Tiote would not be walking back in to the team. I would even suggest that if Raylor had not been injured Tiote wouldn’t be straight back in.

Riviere started the season as the club’s first choice striker but in his absence, Cissé and in particular Ayoze have performed brilliantly and have seen the Frenchmen drop down the pecking order.

When a club is on a run of form as good as Newcastle United at the moment players have to earn their places in the team; be it through appearances as subs or taking advantage of injuries and suspensions like those players who have stepped up during the last six or seven weeks. You can’t have enough good footballers at the club though and this new found depth can only be a positive for the busy winter period.