Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Guthrie Only Has Games in Mind; United Star Eager for Action

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Guthrie Only Has Games in Mind; United Star Eager for Action

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

NEWCASTLE United's paper-thin squad will be put through another game tomorrow - but the more the merrier as far as midfielder Danny Guthrie is concerned.

With so few options available, manager Joe Kinnear could be forgiven for not wanting an FA Cup replay against Hull City wedged between important matches against West Ham United and Blackburn Rovers.

But, having found opportunities so scarce in previous seasons, Guthrie is not about to turn down another appearance and just hopes the squad can be reinforced to deal with them.

Nicky Butt returns from suspension to partner Guthrie in the middle of midfield in tomorrow's cup clash, but further reinforcements look unlikely.

Shola Ameobi has an outside chance of returning from an ankle injury, though after Andy Carroll marked his first start at St James's Park with a goal last week, a return to the starting XI would seem unlikely.

United are hoping Claudio Cacapa, Joey Barton, Alan Smith and Obafemi Martins return before the end of the month but Mark Viduka and Habib Beye's comebacks are probably further off.

Increasingly in recent years managers have shown a disdain for the world's most famous cup competition by using it as an opportunity for squad rotation - as Hull boss Phil Brown did in the original game earlier this month. Kinnear does not have the resources to do so anyway, but as someone still well short of 100 senior appearances, the former Liverpool trainee will be treating it as seriously as any Premier League game.

"The FA Cup only becomes a distraction if you pick up injuries and suspensions, but I'm loving the fact I'm playing so much so I've don't see it as a distraction at all," he said. "Every game is another game and I want to play as many as I can, that was my aim at the start of the season."

Irrespective of the manager or his training methods, United seem to have constantly had one of the division's worst injury records in recent years.

With few senior players to pick from in the first place, the strain on the Magpies squad is unavoidable.

Guthrie is hoping to see the numbers boosted soon by good news from both the treatment room and the transfer window. …

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