Fabricio Coloccini, Shola Ameobi and Cheick Tiote

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter


Newcastle United will take to the field at the Jan Breydel Stadium on Thursday evening with plenty of experience.

Manager Alan Pardew has confirmed that captain Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson will form the Magpies' central defensive pairing against Club Brugge, with Cheick Tiote anchoring the midfield and big front man Shola Ameobi leading the line.

And, despite resting the likes of Jonas Gutierrez and Hatem Ben Arfa for the Group D tie in Belgium, Pardew refused to accept suggestions that his line-up would be a 'weakened one', when questioned by a local journalist ahead of the fixture.

"They are not all equal, of course," said the boss.

"But for example, Williamson was very upset to be left out of the Premier League game last Sunday, but I want him to play in this game.

"I am strategically placing players in the games where I think they will excel. It's not about a weakened side, it's about a strategic side.

"Cheick was the best player in training (on Thursday) with the extra rest from not playing at the weekend.

"That will be a bonus for us, and now Colo goes into that category so that has been kind of a welcome bonus if you like.

"Shola will start tomorrow and it will be the first time that him and Sammy both start a game together, because Sammy will start too."

One player who has travelled with the party but is unlikely to see any game time is Xisco.

The Spanish striker is back in the first team squad after impressing for the Club's Under 21 side with a hat-trick against Stoke City last month.

And Pardew was full of praise for his attitude during a tough couple of years on Tyneside.

"Xisco has worked hard and we feel he's contributed to the group, therefore we have included him on this trip," he said.

"The future for Xisco hopefully is a return to playing. Like all players, he wants to play. We have tried to give him some direction and hope that he can forward his career.

"I'm not sure he will be included tomorrow, if I'm honest, but I just wanted to bring him into the group so he felt part of it.

"He causes us no problems, he gets on with his work and we are trying to help him."