Is it time to utilise the development squad?

Posted on November 15th, 2010 | 101 Comments |

Haris Vuckic - Edging closer to the first team?
Haris Vuckic - Edging closer to the first team?
Well here we are, a third of the way through our season, sitting in eighth place. Arguably we could be even higher, but eighth place isn’t bad at all, and is more than I expected anyway.

Of course, being a third of the way through the season also has it pitfalls. It’s a well used cliche, but it is a long, hard season, and injuries and suspensions soon mount up.

Newcastle are going through a little spell of injuries and suspensions themselves at the moment. The suspensions to Joey Barton and Chieck Tiote have added to what seems to be a growing injury list, with Andy Carroll being the latest player to encounter some form of injury problem after he picked up a groin problem in the 0-0 draw against Fulham at the weekend – An injury that could hamper bigger lad making his England debut on Wednesday night.

Few can deny that losing Carroll will be a massive blow to the team, if we do end up losing him to injury of course. The Gatsehead lad has established himself as a key figure in th Newcastle side, and losing what he brings to the team is far from ideal. The exact same thing can be said for Cheick Tiote who has been largely excellent since his he made his debut against Everton back in September.

Now, replacing these players won’t be easy.

In the case of Andy Carroll, we have Shola Ameobi who can come in and replace him. The problem with that is that Shola is himself struggling with a hamstring injury. That will mean that the responsibility of leading the line could well fall to Nile Ranger, who has been getting minutes on the pitch in recent weeks.

Joey Barton has been playing on the right of midfield, and he has been playing very well in fact and has set up a fair amount of goals in recent weeks. He had been replaced by Danny Guthrie for the Fulham match, but given the fact that we are a bit light on strikers I would hazard a guess that Guthrie will be tucked into the middle of the park allowing Kevin Nolan to move into a more advanced role. I would expect that Wayne Routledge will come in and play on the right side of midfield.

As for Tiote, I guess that the direct replacement for him will be Alan Smith.

You see, even though it isn’t ideal, we can just about cover the injuries and suspensions that we currently have. The problem with doing that is that it leaves our substitutes bench looking rather sparse, which is where our development squad could, and should, come into play.

Waiting in the wings we have players like Haris Vuckic, Shane Ferguson, Ryan Donaldson and Brad Inman among others, who can all step up to the bench. I don’t think for one moment that any of those will start, but at least they will be there ready to come on if we need some fresh, eager, hungry legs.

It may be another cliche, but football is a squad game, and Newcastle will have to utilise all of it to deal with the various injuries and suspensions that inevitably crop up. Looking at the long-term development of our younger players, some involvement in the first-team can only be a good thing in my opinion.

Maybe we’ll find out if the kids are alright after all?

NUFCBlog Author: toonsy toonsy has written 643 articles on this blog.

Related Posts:

101 Responses

  1. i’m all for giving the younguns minutes but like you said toonsy, off the bench. I don’t think any of them have shown enough to give you confidence in starting them. I’m not willing to risk points just to give them experiance. I trust hoot’s opinnion and he’ll play them when he feels they are ready to “help the team”.

  2. Clint – agree on Ferguson. He really was impressive v Chelski. Doesn’t make him ready, of course – but it’s a good start.

    Toonsy – don’t forget Loverboy. He and Ranger could form a reasonabe attack, especially with Nolan in behind. Vukic hasn’t massively impressed as yet, but he would be an interesting sub for Guthrie for the last 20 mins – I’d like to see him right in the middle there during a prem match.

    I don’t see why any of the younguns you’ve mentioned shouldn’t be on the bench, though – the trick is making sure only one or two of them are on the pitch at any one time. There are others too, but CH has to be very wary of ruining their confidence by chucking them in too soon.

    We should be ok. And it’ll force us to take a look at some of these kids. Let’s not forget that CH made 10 changes against Chelski and beat them.

  3. I admire your optimism lads, but the evidence suggests that without BOTH carroll and shola on the pitch in every league game, we are going to struggle for goals or wins.

    Ranger just looks so green / indecisive at the moment. 20mins at the end – or playing alongside an experienced big man, maybe,, at a push.

    Lovenk has dissappointed so far this season, maybe a goal would do it, but he lacks the all-round game, and really needs chances on a plate with plenty of space and time.

    I think Best or Xisco must be worth a punt. You never know Xisco could do a Pavyluchenko and make good on the transfer fee after being all-but written off.

    Like I said, I almost wish we still had Harewood, just as cover.

  4. Well Smith will get a game now Tiote is suspended, I would start this team.


    If Ameobi is fit, if not Ranger, and I would give Ranger a run out at some point anyway. Nolan and Guthrie both ex bolton lads will wanna get one over on them.

  5. boater says:
    November 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    “I admire your optimism lads, but the evidence suggests that without BOTH carroll and shola on the pitch in every league game, we are going to struggle for goals or wins.”

    Did we struggle for goals against Aston Villa then, boater?

  6. Cant get this through to the Blog but we have enough players to cover the shortfall if we only looked “outside the box”.

    Jonas, just in case there’s anyone left out there that didn’t know, is a right sided, right footed midfielder. Jose is as good a left sided player as you’ll find in this league even allowing for the Boy Wonder at Spuds. We have a plethora of central midfielders who can fill that role plus we have more than enough back four players to fill two teams.

    Whats needed is some thought, vision and tactical awareness. ahead of these next two difficult games, bearing in mind that symmetry is not the same as balance in a team.

  7. boater

    The only way Ranger will start to relax a bit and gain experience though is by getting games and I think that is what this season is all about, as well as survival it’s about getting players like Krul, Kadar, Ranger, Vuckic, game time and at a level where they can do a job for us.

  8. workyticket – no true, that was the one exception – I thought as I wrote it. But the exception to prove the rule.

  9. Posted this on the last thread, but seems more relevent here…

    Has anyone seen anything of Yven Moyo yet? I think he made a brief cameo in a reserve match, but doesn’t seem to have even made the squad since.

    Just wondering, since even if he’s sh*te he’s probably our…what…4th choice winger behind Benny, Jonas, Wayne and Raylor?

  10. anyone else really glad we’re not linked with players such as this £15million-rated lad from Rennes, Yann M’Vila?

    Don’t get me wrong, sure he is a good player, but for that money give me £3.5m for Tiote and a seasons loan for Ben Arfa – who has been rated at around £18m – anyday, shows we’re doing good work.

  11. blip

    No-one seems to know anything m8. Could he not be injured or something and they are just keeping it private perhaps, the lad isn’t on the official website but they deffo said he had sign a contract. I think if he was fit he’d be getting games for the reserves at least. Man U were watching him for ages and they don’t watch rodney plonker’s like. He is supposed to be quick/good left foot.

  12. andymac,
    i agree mate, Jonas is a righty.
    He should get played on the right some times, he could be a revelation.

  13. Before you all pencil in Alan Smith at DM, why not consider Capt’n Nolan for that role? He would not have to run as much (a bit of a blessing for him, I suspect.) he has discipline, & he can come forward with the promise of a decent shot.

    I think Routledge tries hard, but has not found the key to success. Maybe Jonas should be taking some runs down the right side along with ????

    One of the items CH has to consider who Bolton will field in order to determine the best NUFC line-up. Let’s hope that not having a #2 prevetns that from happening.

  14. blip/DJG

    He mustn’t be injured and signed for us as theres a picture of him on his facebook in the newcastle kit possibly just no getting games

  15. boater says:
    November 15, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    “workyticket – no true, that was the one exception – I thought as I wrote it. But the exception to prove the rule.”

    Boater, With all due respect, no it isn’t the exception which proves the rule. We have only scored large amounts of goals in two games, once with Ameobi, and once without Ameobi. The rest have all been fairly tightly fought victories draws and losses both with and without him. There isn’t any real evidence to support your hypothesis.

  16. Evening Lads I still think Ranger and Vuckic should get run outs, I know folk think they are still a bit green. But they will stay green if they dont get a chance , and as I said before Carroll didn’t really look the part at the start of last season, as Worky said he was a bit like a great Dane :lol: and remember Sholla looked a bit like a horse walking downstairs, and still does at times ;)

  17. Big Dave says:
    November 15, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    “and remember Sholla looked a bit like a horse walking downstairs, and still does at times”

    Dave, when Shola falls over, he’s often heads the ball into the goal on the way down. If there was a stat for for “limbo heading” ie heading a ball into the goal when it’s only around a foot or two off the ground, Shola would probably win that.

  18. Well Batty Lad whats happening, I think he might do well there for the 1 game Tiote is missing. I do believe when Nolan is on fire he is onfire but from what I see he doesn’t offer very much else because of his speed or lack of it :)
    IMO if we are playing 2 upfront Nolan doesn’t offer that much in midfield and I would rather see Guthrie and Barton in CM.
    Worky I often feel sorry for Shola as I think his biggest problem is just that he looks clumsy because of his size, the same as Crouch I dont think he is very good to watch either but they both produce the goods

  19. CLINT it was batty that said A.C.was oot for 6wks,and i fell for it the rat bag should have know better,sorry for late reply had to nip off too hosp m8

  20. BIG DAVE aye m8 it was just a pre-check before opp on 29th,batty sucked me right in.ill get him back ;)feel sorry for vickic odd game hes had been played out of position so hard to judge,maybe put jonas on right and put him left,was listening to b moncer he said he has contacts in sjp and agrees with why c.h. is not playing ranger?

  21. Just seen Villa game again, and I tell you one player that would fit in outstandingly in the Toon is Albrighton. He provides such good quality into the box from the right wing.

    I’d like to see Vuckic play Just behind Carroll in home games.

  22. Ice I cant understand why he doesnt give him a run :( I did hear before that Ranger wasn’t pulling his wieght and messing about, but if he is still at it why have him in the team drop him.
    As for Vuckic I think he should get a run as I dont think he will improve without it ;)

  23. Don’t see the problem with having young uns on the bench,this season chelski have ramires, kakuta, mckreagon or whatever their names are on bench and although it didn’t help against mackems they are still top of the league

  24. i think in rangers case trying to dangle the carrot and putting him on bench and try odd 10min,can only meet him half-way like the rest is up to him doesnt seem to be working yet,will it ever?

  25. Remember Albrighton from our 6-0 thrashing of Villa, he didn’t impress too much.

    Probably looks a lot better when he doesn’t have to deal w/Jose.

  26. TOONSY by the way wor lass says you have a lovely voice,mind being with me 35yr doesnt make her a good judge :)

  27. RICHIETOON your there again sod,married a 17yrs m8 and wouldnt change a thing,well maybe a couple :)

  28. “Remember Albrighton from our 6-0 thrashing of Villa, he didn’t impress too much.

    Probably looks a lot better when he doesn’t have to deal w/Jose.”

    Hear, Hear!

    Does anyone look good against Jose? I can’t remember the last time ANY player had the better of him. The only player seemingly capable of beating Jose is Jose himself when he constantly tries to play his way out of danger.

  29. Dave….I don’t doubt it, he sems the sort ;-)

    Ice….well done mate, takes some doing tho it’ll have been easier for you than your lass ;-)

  30. Dave…just went oot in the village, the fights there last longer and there’s more blood :-)

  31. Toonsy see if you get the chance check out that youtube clip at 12mins 50secs mate the clip has been removed a few times ???
    Ice he should be looked up for his hair alone

  32. Should be an interesting game at bolton.
    O Coyle has started getting them playing a bit of football, not like fat sham.
    Be nice to come away with at least a point for a change.

    On topic,
    the time to play the ‘development squad’ is when we have to. May see one or two get on the bench with injuries & suspensions kicking in.
    I’m guessing a 4411 away again.

  33. No one’s suggested a central pairing of Guthrie-Nolan? (i just skimmed the comments, someone may have)

    I seem to remember us playing some really good stuff with those two in the middle near the end of last season.

    for the next match i’d like to see either;


    I’m sure José Hughtino will put out the team he feels is most likely to get the points, and he knows just a little bit more than us.

  34. Got to say that bar injuries/suspensions I wouldn’t tinker with the squad as it stands at all. In our current position though, I suppose 4-5-1 is the way it has to be, Smith for Tiote, Rout on the right, Guth in the centre, Ranger up front. Although depending on how ranger does, maybe we could try Vuckic behind Nolan up front? We wouldn’t have any aerial power to speak of but think we’d have a decent passing/ground game. Think Ranger is a bit desparate to grab himself a goal..which is good in that he’s eager, but at the same time he seems to miss better options..i.e a pass to an open Nolan opposed to a ridiculous overhead kick, but again it all comes with experience.

  35. I think that Lovenkrands deserves a run out and maybe Ranger off the bench. but for me he and Routledge need to have a proper run in the side for us to see what they are really capable of. Nolan in the defensive midfield role might be worth a shot too. In a diamond perhaps with Routledge Guthrie and Jonas. for me I’d like to see


  36. World Cup final referee Howard Webb will officiate Newcastle’s game at Bolton on Saturday.

    The Rotherham-based ref, who was awarded the showpiece game between Spain and Holland as well as being chosen for the 2010 Champions League final between Inter Milan and Bayern Munich, has been assigned to the game at the Reebok.

    Regarded as one of the best referees in the world, Webb has taken charge of ten Barclays Premier League games, two Carling Cup fixtures, two Champions League matches and last month’s European Championships qualifier between Germany and Turkey.

    In those 15 games, he’s shown 52 yellow cards but has yet to flash a red card.

    However, he did send United’s Sebastien Bassong off when he last refereed a Newcastle game. The French defender was sent off in the 60th minute of the 1-0 home defeat to Fulham in May 2009, with Webb also disallowing a Mark Viduka goal.

  37. Leon Best is set to make his first appearance since a training ground injury in August as Newcastle Reserves take on Manchester City on Tuesday afternoon (kick-off 1pm).

    The Nottingham-born striker, signed from Coventry in January, suffered an ankle injury during the summer after scoring against Carlisle and PSV Eindhoven in pre-season.

    That has kept him out of United’s Barclays Premier League campaign so far, but he is stepping up his return with his first run-out of the campaign in the behind-closed-doors clash for Peter Beardsley’s team.

    Best is joined in the squad by Xisco – who will play for the second string for the first time since being sent off against Sunderland on August 31 – as well as Sol Campbell and Steven Taylor.

    Campbell and Taylor have both been unused substitutes in recent weeks after returning from injury lay-offs, so will take the opportunity to stay match-fit.

    Unfortunately, due to the game being played at United’s Benton-based Training Centre, members of the public will NOT be admitted. But will provide full coverage of the match.

    The full squad is: Ole Soderberg, Ben Robinson, James Tavernier, Sol Campbell, Steven Taylor, Stevie Folan, Matthew Grieve, Dan Leadbitter, Conor Newton, Ryan Donaldson, Samuel Adjei, Michael Richardson, Phil Airey, Sammy Ameobi, Xisco, Leon Best.

  38. Is Carroll still with the England squad?? I’m getting very concerned he’s going to play in this FRIENDLY and then miss our game at the weekend. If this was Rooney, Gerrard etc I seriously doubt they would be anywhere near the squad. CH should just put his foot down and tell Carroll to come back.

  39. He is still with the squad but is considered a major doubt for the match, shouldn’t be risked and I doubt he will be.

  40. If it gets to a day or 2 before the game and he’s still a doubt then he shouldn’t play regardless of whether he’s passed fit or not, especially in a meaningless friendly.

  41. There’s actually three levels as far as I can see:

    Senior squad
    Back-up squad
    Development squad

    The senior squad are those who make up the regular 1st team.

    The back-up squad are those who regularly make the bench, plus a few others, like Raylor, Best, Kadar, Perch, Lovenkrands, Xisco

    And the development squad are those that get drafted in for cup games. They make it to the bench when a position becomes vacant.

    Soderberg has been on the bench a lot this year because Krul got a promotion when Harps got hurt.

    I think Ranger has had a run only because Best has been injured.

    Don’t think we’ll see the likes of Vuckic, Ferguson, Inman, etc, until it is forced on us – and in cup games.

  42. “Unfortunately, due to the game being played at United’s Benton-based Training Centre, members of the public will NOT be admitted”… The last 2 home reserve games weren’t played there but were still not open to the public!!

  43. I just think he’d of been sent back for treatment if he wasn’t going to play by now.