Battle of the Superkids unlikely

Last updated : 06 November 2002 By Martyn Elliott

Hugo: recalled to the starting line-up
The much heralded battle between prolific teenage strikers Michael Chopra and Wayne Rooney now appears to be unlikely to happen, with the news that both players are set to start the game on the bench.

Carl Cort and Lomana Lua Lua will start up front for us, with Sir Bobby choosing to rest the likes of Alan Shearer, Gary Speed and Jermaine Jenas ahead of the trip to Highbury at the weekend.

Other certain starters are Nikos Dabizas, Kieron Dyer, Hugo Viana, Steve Harper and Clarence Acuna. Andy Griffin is also set to start against the club he supported as a boy, but will share the right back duties with Aaraon Hughes.

Chopra will feature in the second half though.

Probable line-up: Harper, Griffin, Bernard, Dabizas, Elliott, Dyer, Viana, Acuna, McClen, Lua Lua, Cort. Subs: Given, Hughes, Chopra, Caldwell, Ameobi

The visitors are likely to be without Thomas Gravesen, Niclas Alexandersson and Scott Gemmill. Rooney should get on in the second period.

Check out the Newcastle – Everton head-to-head record

Sir Bobby has been promising to take the game and the competition seriously: "Michael Chopra will be involved in some capacity, but my aim is to make sure we win the match.

"We know what we've got with Michael and he is a great prospect. We're very pleased with him, but we have a lot of other good strikers at the club who want to play as well.

"It is ridiculous to ask us to play another game so soon after the Boro one, but we will put out the strongest team we can. It is not the second team, it is a fresh team.

"Kieron Dyer has proved he is over his back problems and he will play, so will Hugo Viana, Nikos Dabizas and Lomana LuaLua. Then there is Clarence Acuña, Corty and Robbie Elliott.

"We have a big squad and we can bring players in to freshen the side up without weakening it too much.

"We'll put out a very good team. We'll put out a team hopefully that can win. We respect the competition."

Everton boss David Moyes is in confident mood ahead of the game: "We've got a lot of confidence about the place at the moment but I don't think I've had any success yet.

"We've won some games and we've given people reason for optimism but we need to keep working hard.

"The players have done everything we have asked of them so far as they got us away from the threat of relegation last season and they've kicked on again and we are doing well."

"All the players know how well they are playing at the moment.

"Wayne (Rooney) has scored some good goals but he is part of a team, he knows that, and if he didn't he wouldn't be here."