100213111317In advance of Thursday night’s Europa League clash with FC Metalist Kharkiv, Alan Pardew has confirmed he will be “picking a strong side”.

Exactly who will be in that strong side is another matter and whether the fans will agree it is a strong starting eleven is another matter.

It would be great to see the manager throwing everything at our Ukrainian opponent on Thursday with ten days until our next league match following that home leg. With the away leg it may be a different matter but first things first.

This is what Alan Pardew had to say today;

“I will be picking a strong side for Thursday, the new lads who arrived last month give us greater depth.

It is a competition we would all love to win, it is difficult to get through the group stage so we don’t want that hard work to all be for nothing!”.

On Sunday I wrote an article  Likely Newcastle Line Up v Metalist In Europa League about the kind of side I expected Alan Pardew to put out and despite the quotes from Alan Pardew I still don’t think it will deviate much from the team shown on this graphic.

Pardew’s comments about the new players giving greater depth may suggest a debut for left-back Haidara and if that was the case then Santon may switch to the right even if Danny Simpson if passed fit for the match.

Alan Pardew is never going to say any of his squad players are weak but I definitely think most fans would judge a ‘strong side’ by how many changes we’ll see from the starting eleven that played against Tottenham.

Mapou and Tiote look sure to play and won’t weaken the side but more than one or two other unenforced changes and some fans will judge the manager harshly if the result goes the wrong way.

NUFC To Beat FC Metalist 23/20
NUFC To Win 2-0 11/1
NUFC To Win First Half 15/8

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