Peterborough 2-0 Newcastle United, Marlon Harewood & Administration

NUFC Team: Krul, Tavernier, S Taylor, Tozer, R Taylor, LuaLua, Guthrie, Donaldson, Lovenkrands, Ranger, Vuckic

So our kids were easily beaten on Tuesday by a good Peterborough side – not disastrous by any means (although I must say that I was not one of the unlucky 2,361 souls that were unfortunate enough to travel to London Road).

I had been hoping that some of the youngsters would get a run out and, whilst I was surprised by how many were selected, it was a pretty sensible lineup chosen by Hughton in my opinion. Of course, just how sensible will be proven on Saturday evening when we play Roy Keane’s Ipswich Town. Three points at Portman Road will fully justify Hughton’s gamble, whereas a third successive defeat on the road (in all competitions) will raise further questions about Hughton’s ability to steer us towards the Premier League.

Peterborough were, by all accounts, by far the better side on the night. One or two of our kids apparently had a bit of a nightmare, but lets not read too much into it. I am sure that the experience was an invaluable one, even if a little traumatising.

It pains me to say it, but I’m genuinely not at all bothered by the loss. It’s a sad sign of how far this club has fallen – I’ve never previously been one for belittling the Carling Cup – but we’re not strong enough to compete on more than one front at the moment. The ‘top 4’ teams can get away with it, but shame on the rest of those Premiership teams that now deem the Carling Cup to be below them – I’m thinking about the likes of Hull and Fulham who fielded what can only be described as piss poor teams.

The fact that we are so weak only makes Hughton’s decision to introduce Nolan, Geremi and Smith even more bewildering. Either you want to protect them for Saturday or you don’t. What you do not do is start without them and then bring them on with half an hour to go when you are losing 2-0 and down to 10 men. It is decisions such as this (as well as the decision to play Geremi at all) that make me seriously doubt the basic intelligence of Chris Hughton. Its not rocket science, as some football managers would have you believe.

Marlon Harewood is apparently very close to signing for us on loan. This strikes me as little more than an excuse for Hughton to maintain his favoured long-ball tactics. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, but Harewood is a real beast of a player – and not in a good way. I’m not looking forward to the prospect of our defenders hoofing endless long ball up to a pairing of Carroll and Harewood – which is what will probably happen. He hasn’t played all season and he’s just recovered from an injury, so one would think that he won’t be in the team for Saturday – so hopefully Ranger and Carroll will get another opportunity to work together. Sadly, knowing Hughton, he likes a little 4-5-1 formation and I expect the same again.

Finally, I read some more utter rubbish today about the possibility of NUFC being forced into administration if Kevin Keegan is successful in his case against Mike Ashley. Come on! As if. Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias have pulled some shit in their time, but this would take the biscuit. It makes absolutely no sense. None. Ashley would gain nothing from this. This administration rumour reeks of Ashley and Llambias trying to turn the fans against Keegan. Sorry lads, but whilst some of us may well be a little cheesed off with Keegan’s behaviour last season, there’s not a chance that we would ever take your side over his. Of course, he could have stayed and worked through the problems, but he didn’t and you two have only yourselves to blame. Here’s hoping KK is victorious and we finally hear some details about what actually happened. I imagine that it isn’t going to make very pleasant reading for Ashley & Co when we get to see what really went on.

Until the weekend!


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