NEWCASTLE United are sweating on the fitness of Danny Guthrie ahead of Good Friday’s visit to Swansea City, writes MILES STARFORTH.
The midfielder limped out of last weekend’s 2-0 win over Liverpool after suffering a calf injury.
And Guthrie was this week being assessed by the club’s medical staff ahead of the visit to the Liberty Stadium.
However, the odds are seemingly against the 24-year-old, one of the few players left from Newcastle’s last visit to Swansea two years ago, proving his fitness in time to face Brendan Rodgers’s side.
“Danny pulled his calf – we’ll have to see,” boss Alan Pardew said.
Should Guthrie fail to prove his fitness, Pardew would most likely push Jonas Gutierrez back into midfield, the club’s stand-in captain having played at left-back against Liverpool.
A late equaliser from Andy Carroll earned United a point from the Magpies’ first visit to the Liberty Stadium in February 2010.
Pardew will definitely be without skipper Fabricio Coloccini – who is out with a hamstring injury – for the first Premier League meeting between the two sides at the ground.
Coloccini is also expected to miss the Easter Monday game against Bolton Wanderers at St James’s Park.
Meanwhile, Pardew is looking for another big performance from Hatem Ben Arfa, who has been outstanding in the last two games, setting up goals and scoring one himself against Liverpool and West Brom.
“I’m highly delighted with Hatem, and he should be highly delighted himself,” said Pardew.
“He’s had to be patient. I’ve been drilling things into him about the responsibilities in this team.
“Then he’s had to bring his flair.
“He’s doing his responsibilities, and he’s showing his amazing ability.”
Meanwhile, a youthful Newcastle reserve team was beaten 5-0 by Fulham in a closed-doors game at Motspur Park yesterday.
H QPR have handed a trial to Jacob Mellis, who recently parted company with Chelsea after setting off a smoke grenade at their training ground.
The midfielder, 21, played and scored in Rangers’ 2-1 reserve defeat against West Ham yesterday.
Mellis, who spent last week training with npower Championship side Burnley, left Chelsea “by mutual consent” last month after admitting to the smoke-grenade prank.
Yesterday’s friendly also witnessed the return of QPR strikers Heidar Helguson and DJ Campbell from injuries that have sidelined them for more than two months.