Well it sure as hell ain't Joey Barton
This is our opportunity to put the mini-blip of the past couple of Premiership games behind us. Away to Newcastle, where we have an unimpressive record, may not be the ideal game in which to do it but we beat them recently with comparative ease at home and should be able to pick up our top four challenge again in the North East.
Apart from Ledley and the other current long term invalids we have a pretty full squad plus newcomer Steven Piennar from Everton who, it is rumoured, may get a chance from the bench. They will be without talismanic striker Andy Carroll and under new manager Alan Pardew.
We need to win this one not just for ourselves but for Chris Hughton too in front of a crowd that are not yet wholly convinced by the change of manager.
Benoit Ekotto is a doubt and I would like to see Bassong play there and leave the midfield as it is: Lennon on the flank , JJ if Palacios is unavailable, half man half genius Modric and the Bale. Piennar to come on with Pavlyuchenko for the last 20 minutes and Defoe to start with Van der Vaart. Hutton, Gallas and Dawson complete the line-up with Gomes to keep another clean sheet.
If we have two Ex Geordies on at the same time this will likely confuse the Newcastle fans and will split the vote even if they don't end up cheering for us. We need to impose our new found mental strength quickly to quieten the crowd which could be a factor if we allow them to get into the game. A third 'double' will enable us to keep up with the quickening pace at the top.
A win ahead of the Chelsea game will see us back in fourth for a couple of days anyway and importantly put pressure on Chelsea to win at Bolton on Monday. This is not a foregone conclusion although Bolton have faltered recently. Newcastle's form is patchy overall but they are stronger at home with 3W/1D/ and 2Losses in the last six. We have kept 4 clean sheets in the last 5 games and another one here would give us a solid base on which to go on and win it.
Meanwhile the Stadium drama is rumbling towards a conclusion although a final decision is not expected until March. Today W.Ham and Spurs put their closing statements to the judges. Political hostility against the Spurs plan to demolish and rebuild the Olympic stadium has been building and their offer to renovate the crumbling Chrystal Palace site has not been well received.
Much airy talk of betrayal of promises and failing to preserve the heritage hang in the air and unsurprisingly the athletic community almost to a man won't accept any proposal to get rid of the athletic track 'Athletes in favour of athletics' shock. I think that in the end it is going to be politically unacceptable to grant Spurs plans and that the W.Ham bid, which is impractical in every way except that it preserves the running track, will win.
In this case Levy will be spared the wrath of the bulk of our fans who like me want the Northumberland Project to go ahead. I signed the 'keep Tottenham in Tottenham' petition months ago on the grounds of history, tradition and nostalgia. But businessmen run the show and if given a sniff of the Olympic site Levy will grab it with both hands. It's the economics stupid.
The new Spurs stadium at White Hart Lane despite getting planning permission is still fraught with transport and financial problems and raising the £450 million will not be easy under the current economic climate. We are still haggling with Haringey over transport upgrade costs. There is a potential saving of £150/£200 million pounds by opting for the Olympic site but this is not money that will be available for players, it will just be less debt.
However the finances are not my priority and the romantic attraction of rebuilding within yards, metres even, of the old stadium makes it an easy decision for me. I concede that in 30 or so years time as the old fans die off the Olympic stadium would quickly be absorbed into our history and in say 40 years time the old place will largely be forgotten. But at the moment that is not the point.
Levy will easily justify the move away if it comes to it on financial and access grounds and remember the Northumberland Project has a capacity of only 56,000 compared to the Olympic stadiums projected 60,000, equal to the Emirates. It might turn into the classic dilemma of the suits knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing. But hopefully it won't come to that and the new WHL will be the only game in town.