Starting With Owen Must Be Temptation For Big Sam!

Last updated : 02 January 2008 By Footy Mad - Editor
Alan Smith is a major doubt for the Toon as he recovers from concussion. The 27-year-old spent Saturday night in hospital after a clash of heads with team-mate Abdoulaye Faye at Chelsea.

Faye hurt his arm during the same match, although a scan has shown no lasting damage, while Michael Owen came through his return from a thigh injury unscathed.

Midfielder Joey Barton will not play against his former club after being remanded in custody on charges of common assault and affray.

Manchester City midfielder Elano may find himself on the bench as the high-flying Blues look to heap more pressure on Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce.

After a brilliant first few months at Eastlands, Elano's form has dipped in recent weeks and City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson could be tempted to leave the Brazilian on the bench at St James' Park, with fellow countryman Geovanni among the potential replacements.

Michael Johnson (abdominal strain) is still sidelined but Emile Mpenza could be back from a muscle problem as City look to record their first away win since the opening day of the season.

NEWCASTLE (from): Given, Harper, Carr, Beye, N'Zogbia, Enrique, Rozehnal, Cacapa, Taylor, Faye, Edgar, Geremi, Butt, Milner, Emre, Duff, Smith, Martins, Viduka, Owen.

MAN CITY (from): Hart, Isaksson, Onuoha, Corluka, Sun, Dunne, Richards, Garrido, Ball, Ireland, Hamann, Elano, Fernandes, Geovanni, Petrov, Mpenza, Vassell, Bianchi, Samaras.