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Stuart Dalgleish 23rd Nov 2009 - 8:26

Newcastle set to spoil Irvine’s anniversary celebrations

Preston North End take on Newcastle United on Monday night in yet another televised game for the Geordies.

Newcastle are fast becoming the Manchester United of the Championship with the amount of times they've been chosen to be on TV.

But that's another argument; one thing that can't be argued at the minute is Newcastle's determination to keep bouncing back from adversity at all costs.

United have lost three Championship games this season, but after the first they won back-to-back games and after losing against Scunthorpe, which was their second defeat in a row, they responded with a hat-trick of wins - one of those wins against Doncaster was achieved in injury time after the visitors had missed a penalty.

It just goes to show how Newcastle have a different mindset this season; time after time under first Kevin Keegan and then Alan Shearer the Geordies went a goal down and almost seemed to give up hope as they slipped to another inevitable defeat.

Perhaps it was poor management, perhaps it was big time charlies not wanting to fight for the black and white shirt (it was probably a combination of both to be fair), but one thing's for sure, Newcastle are prepared to roll up their sleeves and fight for everything this season, which you have to commend when you consider a lot of these players will have never been to some of these smaller stadiums and have never played in the hustle and bustle of the Championship.

One player who has improved immensely from last season is Kevin Nolan (7/1 to get the opener, 2/1 to score at any time of the match), the former Bolton midfield general has been playing in a more attacking role this season and has combined really well with big battering ram Andrew Carrol (6/1 first, 7/4 any) and the pair have been rewarded with 11 league goals so far.

With the hard working Nile Ranger (8/1 first, 11/4 any) and Marlon Harewood (13/2 first, 15/8 any) waiting in reserve Newcastle look to have good options and good variety for a long season ahead.

Alan Irvine's team are 21/10 to give their gaffer three points to celebrate on his two year anniversary in charge of the Lilywhites, The draw is available at 23/10, while the Geordies are slight favourites to get the points at Deepdale at odds of 13/10, it looks really good value when you consider that Preston's early season form is looking like a distant memory now with only one win in seven games.

With Newcastle's fine defensive record this season, I don't think there will be an abundance of goals and I'd be looking at correct score options such as 0-1 and 0-2 at odds of 6/1 and 17/2 respectively.

If PNE are to get back to winning ways and make a push for the top six, then they'll need their forwards to start putting away the chances that have been going begging in recent weeks; Jon Parkin (7/1 to grab the first of the game, 2/1 to score at anytime of the match) has only scored one in his last six games and Neil Mellor (6/1 first, 7/4 any) has only hit the back of the net once in his last seven outings.

The goals that these two supplied were one of the main reasons that North End reached the play-offs last season, and if they don't find their shooting boots soon then mid-table obscurity could be the best the Deepdale faithful have to hope for.



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