Newcastle youngster to be thrown into the firing line?

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Newcastle goalkeeper Jak AlnwickNewcastle’s latest game saw them produce an encouraging 3-0 mid-week victory over Bordeaux. The French team have not been beaten in 17 matches, which sounds even more impressive when you say that they are unbeaten in 6 months. However, goals from Shola Ameobi, Papiss Cisse and an own goal from Henrique helped demolish that record. But as things start looking how they used to look last season for the Toon, fate deals us another blow. As another Newcastle squad member has been added to the injury list.

Rob Elliot is Newcastle’s third choice goalkeeper. Standing just behind Steve Harper and Tim Krul. But since Krul’s elbow injury, which he picked up on International duty, he has been left sidelined. Harper has moved into the temporary number 1 sport while Elliot has started to earn his Newcastle shirt by performing better than expected in performances in our Europa games. Questions may start to be asked who is a better number 2 back up for Krul, Harper or Elliot?

But after 35 minutes of game play against Bordeaux, Elliot seemed to have injured his groin. Meaning Pardew was forced into making a change at half time bringing on Steve Harper. Although Newcastle did well to keep the clean sheet, the defensive side to the squad is certainly something to worry about. Especially as we failed to pick up any new defenders in the transfer window.

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Krul was expected back in training last Monday alongside Simpson (who made his return with a good performance against Bordeaux). But sadly Krul wasn’t seen in training and Pardew hasn’t given us any update on his return.

Pardew had this to say to NufcTV on Elliot’s recent injury: “Rob is defiantly out for Sunday. The Gods really will be against us if Harper gets injured during the game. But Jak will go on the bench, and if we do need him, I’ve got no worries about sticking him in”.

However when pressed to answer if Coloccini and S. Taylor would be available for Sunday’s game against Manchester United , Pardew answered sharply that he wasn’t there to talk about who is available, but more about the recent win. So with Harper being our only fit senior keeper, Newcastle are calling upon Jak Alnwick to provide backup. But who exactly is he?

Jak is an English ‘keeper born in 1993, who currently wears the number 42 shirt. He is also brother to ex-Tottenham now Barnsley goalkeeper Ben Alnwick. It seems Jak has a bright future as he has already been called up to the England under 20 squad and is reported to be a “great” shot-stopper. Jak got his first taste of what first team football could be like, as he replaced Harper in a pre-season friendly against Hartlepool in August 2012. It is also no secret that his football hero is of course our very own Steve Harper.

But if Pardew has faith in this lad, then surely we must too. However, with most of our first choice defensive players injured (Krul, Taylor and Coloccini) the last thing we need is a youngster between our posts with no other first team action before.

So come this Sunday, this young 19-year-old lad could not only be involved in the same match as his hero, but he could be facing one of the best teams in the world. Not an opportunity that most 19-year-old lads get to have. So he should take the opportunity with both hands!

So let’s have faith in our back line, and expect a good result at home against Man United this weekend. And if you don’t like the sound of Jak Alnwick by now, then it may interest you to know that we signed him in 2008 from… Sunderland.

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