The first of SAFC’s double-headers against various ‘Magpies’ see’s the lads take on Notts County in the FA Cup Third Round at the Stadium Of Light. Last time that happened, we won it... just saying...
SAFC Team News
The 1-0 victory at Villa came at a price. Injuries to Meyler & Welbeck, means we’re even lighter in midfield/attack. This was further compounded with Zenden’s sending off, and will miss the match.
We already expected SAFC to change things up a bit anyway, but that looks even more on the cards, and without wanting to sound too arrogant, a ‘second string’ team should be enough to do a professional job and get a win over a League One team with minimal fuss.
Whilst Gordon isn’t injured or anything like that, Bruce has the luxury to be able to rest the Scottish stopper. Simon Mignolet isn’t much of a downgrade, and I’d expect him to come in.
At the back we’re kind of short of options, so there shouldn’t be too much change around, but I’ll give you the options. The fullbacks are in question. Bardsinho could be rested in favour of Marcos Angeleri, who has made a couple of cameo appearances from the bench in recent weeks, and at left-back Kieran Richardson could be rested in favour of youngster Blair Adams. Bruce must have some faith in Adams, as he has been on the bench a handful of times as an unused sub, this might be a nice time to blood him and see how he does. With only one other fit centre-back, it looks like either Ferdinand or Bramble will have to play, with forgotten man Paulo Da-Silva coming in. If I had to guess, and I do later in the article, I’d say Ferdinand misses out. Slight injury a few weeks ago, and Bramble is stand-in captain at the moment.
The midfield almost picks itself with all the injuries and suspensions. It looks like being Elmohamady will start on the right, with Malbranque on the left. In the middle Riveros simply has to play as there’s a lack of options, and it’s a great chance for him to get another 90 minutes. I’d imagine Zenden would have come in, but his soft sending off means a suspension for the Dutchman, however Brucey recently recalled Jack Colback from loan at Ipswich Town, and he must have done that with thoughts of giving him a game in the cup. Yes, this means Jordan Henderson finally gets his well earned rest.
Upfront it’s a similar story to midfield. Welbeck is out, that’s a definite. Bent has been poked in the eye twice in as many games, while Gyan seems to be always close to picking up knocks, and youngster Jordan Cook is in the mix. I’m gonna expect Bent & Gyan to start with the aim of putting the game out of sight before half-time and we can bring Cook on for whoever is the least fit of the two.
All this said, it will depend on wether cup-loving Bruce wants to rest people or make a real run at it. I hope he rests people, as the game next weekend is more important by far.
Bruce’s Probable Team:
Gordon; Bardsley, Bramble, Da-Silva, Angeleri; Malbranque, Riveros, Henderson, Elmohamady; Bent, Gyan
Mignolet; Adams, Bramble, Da-Silva, Angeleri; Malbranque, Riveros, Colback, Elmohamady; Gyan, Cook
From the Notts County side
I can't say I know a whole load about Notts County other than what our Fan Focus people have told us.
Recent reports suggest they may be understrength themselves with loanees Alan Judge, Thoman Ince & Stephen Darby all looking unlikely to be re-signed in time for the game on Saturday.
The two to watch should be attacking midfielder Ben Davies, recently linked with a move to the Premiership with WBA should be one to watch, and I think we're all well aware of striker Lee Hughes.
Hughes should expect some boo's as I'm sure he has encountered all over the country, so no doubt it will be water off a ducks back to him, and won't affect his game. For what its worth, I think he could get boo's when his name is read out, but leave it at that and get behind the lads instead.
Regardless of the team put out by SAFC, all I'm hoping for is a professional job done. Clean sheet, comfortable win and no injuries or suspensions. All in all, a relatively boring and dull affair that sees us go through to the next round will be quite satisfying with a big match the following weekend.
I'm looking at a 2-0 win for SAFC, with Gyan grabbing both in an uneventful game.
Enjoy the game everyone, and keep checking back on Roker Report for match reports and reaction!