Newcastle United haven’t exactly enjoyed their trips to Stoke City since promotion back to the Premier League back in 2010.
Four defeats in five matches with only the Demba Ba hat-trick in the 3-1 win of October 2011 to break the pattern of misery.
Since December, despite currently being eighth in the table, Stoke City have only beaten Newcastle’s relegation rivals, Bournemouth, Villa and Norwich.
Not sure whether that is a positive or negative statistic…but one thing is for sure, Newcastle desperately need as many options as possible to choose from if they are going to correct a record of only two wins and 17 defeats in their last 20 away games.
Over the weekend it emerged that a number of the injured had returned to training and this appears to be the breakdown of the squad now:
Players with no reported problems:
Elliot, Janmaat, Taylor, Aarons, Shelvey, Sissoko, Lascelles, Wijnaldum, Townsend, Doumbia, Darlow, Saivet, Perez, Riviere
The following six players were all reported to be training once again with the main group, though at what stage they will be at in terms of being able to start, or just be on the bench, or neither, remains to be seen:
Chancel Mbemba, Jack Colback, Vurnon Anita, Paul Dummett, Siem de Jong, Aleksandar Mitrovic
The following five were all training as well but separate to the main group on lighter duties, suggestin they are further away from being available for the first team – Cheick Tiote was out at La Manga but didn’t make the first 11 or bench against Lillestrom:
Cheick Tiote, Papiss Cisse, Kevin Mbabu, Gabriel Obertan, Massadio Haidara
Long-term injured Good and Krul weren’t obviously part of training, with Fabricio Coloccini also nowhere to be seen on Friday at the training ground, the United Captain picking up a calf injury at La Manga:
Tim Krul, Curtis Good, Fabricio Coloccini
Let’s hope this 18 day gap between matches has worked wonders both in terms of getting players back to fitness AND ready for the challenge of Stoke City of Wednesday night.