100213111317A couple of weeks ago, if anybody had asked if Newcastle had any chance of competing for silverware this year they’d have been laughed out of St.James’ Park.

However, the last few matches have seen glimpses of football that could trouble any team, the question is whether that will be be unleashed in the Europa League?

When asked after the Spurs match about the forthcoming double header against Metalist, Alan Pardew immediately turned the conversation back to the need to make sure United stay in the Premier League.

Of course we all agree with that sentiment but what does that suggest lies in wait for us when we pile into St.James’ Park on Thursday night?

On the plus side it seems a certainty that Mapou and Cheick Tiote will be included, so those changes could well strengthen the team rather than weaken it, what about elsewhere though?

It was great to hear Gouffran hasn’t broke his leg but that shows still what a knife edge we are on in terms of lack of depth in many parts of the team/squad.

We wait to hear whether Gouffran will be missing for any amount of time but it must be likely he won’t play on Thursday and I doubt very much if Cisse will start.

So I can see us starting with Shola as our main attacking(!) threat.

I hope I’m wrong but I can well see also the likes of Cabaye, Cisse and Sissoko rested and a reliance on players such as Anita, Marveaux and Obertan.

I’m not saying this is a recipe for disaster but I find it hard to see it as a recipe for success either.

Would this side be up to the job and am I alone in thinking we will slide quietly out of a Europa League that certain people at the club might not be too unhappy about?

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I just hope this isn't more potential we will destroy and that McClaren and his team will change things to develop young players intead as after all we still have the same people in charge further down the line.


Hopefully this is the makings of a longer term plan for success, with McClaren and a new team of coaches on board to help develop a crop of youngsters to come through into first team contention as well as the continued development and progression of the likes of Armstrong, Perez, Aarons, Kemen (assuming he stays) and others.

What I hope isn't happening is Ashley believing that this is the transfers required for the coming season.  We need a good 3 players minimum, 5-6 preferably, of high enough standard to come straight in and improve what we have.  With a high likelihood of certain players leaving at the end of their contract (or before) then we need to have progress on the academy/reserve feeder system, but we are desperate for experienced top flight senior players for the coming season or we will struggle!  Not only will new signings invigorate the fans, but it will raise the heads of the current players and signal our desire to improve...lack of signings will indicate lack of ambition and players heads will drop (or be turned elsewhere).


I'm actually loving it...but we still need top quality players to set an example to the young lads in our pathetic team...and if McClaren leaves in the near future I hope we'll see Ian Cathro as our next manager and especially when Ashley leaves