NEWCASTLE boss Alan Pardew has a surprise or two up his sleeve for tonight’s Carling Cup trip to Scunthorpe, writes MILES STARFORTH.
But he is determined that there won’t be a shock at the final whistle.
Pardew is contemplating making several changes, with Mike Williamson, Sylvain Marveaux and Dan Gosling among those pushing for starts.
Shane Ferguson – who sustained an ankle problem in the first pre-season friendly at Darlington – is still not fit enough to start isn’t fit enough to start.
“I think you’d be hard-pressed to name my team,” Pardew said.
“Shane will travel, but I don’t think he’ll start because he really hasn’t had enough football. I’d have liked him to start this game, but he isn’t ready.”
On the likes of Marveaux and Mehdi Abeid, Pardew added: “They’re the players, in particular, I need to see.
“There are one or two players who need a game, but I know them, and I can get them up to speed.
“I need to know about the character of some other players, and this is a good test for them.
“I need to call it right. I need to win the game, and I need to keep the momentum.”
The game is being broadcast live, with TV schedulers having earmarked it as a potential upset.
Under Pardew, United lost at Stevenage in the FA Cup at January, and that result still pains the club’s manager, who feels his players can “attack” both cup competitions this season.
Pardew said: “We’ll have all our fans watching back home, and we’ll put on a good show.
“They didn’t get to see the Sunderland game live. At least they’ll get to watch us, and I’m hoping we’ll get another positive result to take into Fulham.
“If we can get past Fulham (on Sunday) unbeaten, that’ll be a great start, and we can build on that.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle will be backed by fewer than 1,000 fans tonight, with the club having sent back several hundred unsold tickets earlier in the week.