Newcastle United play host to rejuvenated Blackburn Rovers in the Premiership this Saturday, when the two sides meet at 3.00 at St James Park.
Despite Steve Kean’s side impressive 4-3 win over Arsenal last weekend, the home side will be slight favourites to claim the points in this game and deserve their position in the market to do so.
That victory over out of sorts Arsenal was Blackburn’s first of the season prior to that match, Kean had been under serious pressure and the home fans had voiced their disapproval of the team’s performances to date.
The result against the Gunners has saved the Scot for the short term at least, and he followed that win with another in the Carling cup midweek over Leyton Orient however he will be well aware that his side need to pick up some more points shortly if he is to remain in the job come Christmas.
Australian midfielder Vince Grella made his first appearance after seven months on the sidelines in Tuesday’s win, with 90 minutes under his play the tough tackling midfielder will be keen to get back into premiership duty, showing no sign of the Achilles injury that has dogged him throughout 2011.
However Blackburn will have to make do without Morten Gamst Pedersen, David Dunn (hamstring) and Ryan Nelsen (knee) for the match
Paul Robinson was in excellent form for Rovers last weekend as he helped keep Arsenal at bay and Kean will be hoping for another big game from his stopper on Saturday.
Despite the now standard summer unrest Newcastle have made a pleasing start to the campaign under Alan Pardew and remain unbeaten after five outings.
Surprisingly for a Newcastle side, it’s the Magpies defence that has garnered the headlines so far and has been foundation for the excellent start and the side look like being a match for most sides, especially at St James Park.
Irish international Leon Best has been very impressive up front for Pardew’s men of late while Cheik Tiote has continued where he left of last season been ably assisted by Yohan Cabaye in the middle of the park.
The North East club have been the surprise side in the league in the early weeks and are fully deserving of their fifth place position in the table. Pardew has virtually a full squad to call upon with Hatem Ben Arfa and Peter Lovenkrands, fresh from his brace in 4-3 carling cup win over Nottingham Forest pushing for starts.
The hosts have to be given the verdict to take the points from this match, although they will not find it easy to break down a Blackburn defence led by Robinson. However, the overall strength of the Magpies should see them through and a home win has to be the call.