Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Injury fears for North-East pair
ALAN Pardew and Martin O’Neill face an anxious wait to discover the extent of injuries to Fabricio Coloccini and Adam Johnson after the North-East duo pulled out of their respective international squads.
Newcastle defender Coloccini pulled out of the Argentina squad with a muscle strain, while Sunderland’s England winger Johnson limped out of training yesterday with a thigh strain.
Coloccini had joined up with the Argentina squad after Sunday’s draw with Aston Villa for their 2014 World Cup qualifying double-header against Paraguay and Peru this weekend.
However, it was revealed yesterday that the Magpies captain had left the squad after suffering a muscle strain in his right leg during a training session.
Having already lost Danny Simpson and Ryan Taylor in the last week, and with James Perch also nursing an injury, Pardew will hope the problem won’t keep Coloccini out of the Magpies’ next game against Everton on September 17.
After failing to secure some defensive cover during the transfer window, injury to Coloccini would leave Newcastle exposed at the back with Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson the only other senior defenders fit.
Add that to Cheik Tiote (knee) and Haris Vuckic, who suffered a groin injury while on duty with the Slovenian squad yesterday, and Pardew’s injury problems seem to be mounting fast.
Pardew will hope to have Tiote, Perch and Coloccini available after the international break, especially given the fact the Magpies’ European campaign gets under way in just over two weeks’ time.
Coloccini’s Argentinean team-mate Jonas Gutierrez , who wasn’t named in Alejandro’s Sabella’s squad, admits the recent injuries aren’t ideal as the club embarks on its first European competition for five year.
“We have a few problems with injuries, which is a big problem because we don’t have a big squad,” the midfielder said. “I hope the injured players come back and recover quickly but we know that we have Ryan (Taylor), we have Danny (Simpson), Shola is coming on, Cheik and now Colo too.
“It’s difficult – I think it is going to be a hard season. We need to be ready for all the games.”
Sunday’s draw with Aston Villa was disappointing from Newcastle’s point of view and Gutierrez admits Pardew’s side will have to improve quickly.
He said: “It is different for us because we are in Europe for the first time.
“It’s going to be hard this season. I think the team will have to keep going and keep improving because the next month is going to be very important.
“From the start, we did not get the result that we wanted against Aston Villa. We expect to win at home – we expect to be strong. “Against Aston Villa we lost two points and we must improve as quickly as possible because if we don’t, it’s going to be very difficult this season.”
The draw with Paul Lambert’s side also saw Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba fail to get on the score sheet. Cisse, in particular, appears to be finding it hard to replicate the form he enjoyed in the second part of last season and Gutierrez admits the squad will have to come together to help each other.
He said: “It is always more difficult for the players in the second season because other players know what they can do. We must be aware about that.
“We have to try to be ready as a team, and to play as a team. We have to be strong as a group and not think as individuals.”