Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hughton Forced to Shuffle Defence; Williamson Is Now Facing Ban: Williamson Is Now Facing a Ban

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hughton Forced to Shuffle Defence; Williamson Is Now Facing Ban: Williamson Is Now Facing a Ban

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Edwards

A BATTERED Newcastle United defence will be given a complete overhaul against Chelsea on Sunday, if Mike Williamson decides to accept a three-match ban.

The Football Association last night charged the Magpies defender with violent conduct after reviewing an incident at Bolton on Saturday.

Williamson, who is set to sign a new three-year contract, was deemed to have struck Johan Elmander during his side's embarrassing 5-1 defeat at the Reebok Stadium last weekend. However, the club have still not decided whether to appeal against the charge.

A series of meetings were held at St James' Park last night and the indication from United sources is that Williamson feels he has been harshly treated by the FA, and is upset he has been charged.

However, if Williamson does appeal, he could receive an even longer ban.

Sunderland's Michael Turner appealed against a sending-off against Manchester City last season and had his ban increased to four games, after the appeal was deemed by Soho Square officials to be "frivolous". With Fabricio Coloccini already banned for three matches after he was sent off for elbowing Elmander in the face during the second half, Chris Hughton will have to make major changes to his backline for the visit of Carlo Ancelotti's champions.

That will entail a recall for Sol Campbell and Steven Taylor, neither of whom have started a Premier League game this season, although changes may well have been made without the bans given the hammering the backline took at Bolton.

It is the third time in just two weeks that Newcastle have been punished for their indiscipline, as Joey Barton has also been hit with a three-match ban after he was seen punching Blackburn's Morten Gamst Pedersen.

Meanwhile, Hughton will resist the temptation to send Nile Ranger out on loan even though he knows the youngster could benefit from regular first-team football.

With Leon Best stepping up his recovery from the ankle injury which has sidelined him since August, United have cover for Andy Carroll and Shola Ameobi. …

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