Woodgate fit?

Last updated : 12 September 2003 By Martyn Elliott

Craig Bellamy is apparently finally ready to return to action at Goodison Park, so the big question is whether or not we will see Jonathan Woodgate.

The centre back has been named in the squad, but the signs aren’t good despite him returning to training on Friday.

Jermaine Jenas and Shay Given are expected to be available to start after injury, but it is unclear whether or not Nobby Solano will continue after a tiring trip to South America for a pair of internationals with Peru.

On the left wing it remains to be seen whether Laurent Robert has talked himself out of a recall with his latest ill-judged comments.

About his squad for the game, Sir Bobby said: "I have named a 20-man squad but I know those 20 will not travel.

"We have to get this injury right with Jonathan. It's still not quite clear although he's almost there.

"We have to be sure when we do play him it does not linger on for several weeks because it could.

"It will be a tough decision and I haven't made it yet.

“I am not saying he is not in the side tomorrow, but we might have to leave him out and give him another week so that when he does come back he can play continually and not break down.

"But he is only one of a couple of players we are worried about. Before we regrouped today there were seven players who had been away on international duty who I had never yet seen.

"Yet we have trained sensibly in the last fortnight and at least we picked up no new injuries.

"However, JJ has had four wisdom teeth out and problems with another couple of his teeth.

"He went into the game with Birmingham with a lot of poison in his mouth and this went a long way to explaining the performance he turned in that day.

"He is still not quite 100 per cent and he is just another one we have to have a look at."

As for Everton David Moyes has to decide about which of his new boys Francis Jeffers, Nigel Martyn, James McFadden and Kevin Kilbane to include.

Most press reports have claimed Moyes is also considering whether or not to play Wayne Rooney after his international exploits - I think the Americans would probably call that question a ‘no-brainer’.

Head-to-head record against the Toffees


Wright, Martyn, Pistone, Yobo, Stubbs, Weir, Unsworth, Hibbert, Naysmith, Gravesen, Carsley, Watson, Kilbane, Linderoth, Jeffers, Radzinski, Rooney, McFadden, Ferguson.

Newcastle United:
Given, Caig, Griffin, Hughes, Bernard, Woodgate, O'Brien, Bramble, S. Caldwell, Speed, Dyer, Robert, Solano, Bowyer, Viana, Jenas, Shearer, Bellamy, Ameobi, LuaLua.

Rob Styles