Wolves vs Newcastle: WolvesMAD Preview

Last updated : 03 January 2003 By Steve Hermon

Wolves go in to one of the biggest games in recent history, on a poor run of form and with an injury crisis up front. Doesn't sound good does it?

In the gaffer's defence, I do feel Jonesy was right to make the changes he did against Derby, although the result wasn't the one we wanted and Wolves record now stands at just two points collected from a possible fifteen in the last six games.

The first moans on Wednesday were for Paul Butler's inclusion. For me, it was expected. Mark Clyde has been OK, but has also been looking a bit tired. He is only young so it is to be expected, but the experience will have been good for him and at least we know we have a good young prospect.

Unfortunately, how Paul Butler will cope with the pace of someone like Lomana Lua Lua or Shola Ameobi, I haven't a clue. If either of them do feature instead of Craig Bellamy I would expect a man marking job by Lescott and unfortunately again, Butler would deal with the scoring legend Alan Shearer!

It almost definitely won't happen but maybe Ludo Pollet could feature in the squad after his return from a loan spell at Walsall. I'd personally welcome it.

I was surprised by Marc Edworthy's exclusion but thinking ahead to Sunday's game I would rather have the experience of Denis Irwin facing off against Laurent Robert than the former Coventry man.

Paul Ince was at fault for Derby's goal, but he will be needed on Sunday and I think he will shine against the Geordies. The former FA Cup winner needs to keep his temper under control though, after being booked for arguing with the assistant referee in two of the last three games. Colin Cameron hasn't returned from the second injury the way he did after the first and I think he should be swopped for Alex Rae, who was only on the bench against Derby, apparently because he had a slight groin strain.

Shaun Newton made his return after a long absence and a thought he did OK and put some dangerous crosses in. Unfortunately we don't have Nathan Blake on the end of them. Instead we have Kenny Miller.

Mark Kennedy still needs to put more effort in. We know he has the skill, but he needs to show it for the full 90 minutes rather than just 20 minutes.

Up front we don't have any options, so it looks like George Ndah and Kenny Miller, who didn't threaten Derby's defence much so Shay Given will be a happy man on Sunday!

Newcastle meanwhile, will be on a high, after notching their ninth succesive home win, following a 1-0 win over Liverpool at St. James Park. Our only saviour is that their away form isn't as good and that the 'magic of the FA Cup' might conjour up an FA Cup shock in our favour.

Sir Bobby Robson, will bring a full strength squad and not hold anyone back like in the pre-season friendly at Molineux, which they won 2-0. Shearer, Robert, Bellamy, Solano and many more World Class stars will be on show and it will be a great test.

Pressure will be lifted off Jone's back for this one as we aren't really expected to win. A fighting performance will only help his cause after recent pressure from the board. Personally I think that there is a lot of hinting in the local press that Jones really is under pressure and could lose his job before the season's end.

That is a matter that everybody in the city of Wolverhampton will forget for just a few days as the FA Cup 3rd Round looms and the Toon are coming to Town along with the Sky Cameras. It certainly will be an exciting day. Let's just enjoy it!

C'mon Wolves!!!