Thursday, July 27, 2006

Not without a fight

It seems as though, rather than being disheartened by the arrival of Damien Duff, Charles N'Zogbia has been spurred on to prove his worth even more, if last night's testimonial for Norwich's Craig Fleming is anything to go by.

Lining up at Carrow Road in his more familiar left-sided position in a 4-5-1 formation that saw James Milner operate as the lone striker, N'Zogbia was lively throughout and scored a belting goal shortly before the hour mark for what proved the winner. (Peter Ramage had opened the scoring, and Paul McVeigh got a consolation goal back for the Canaries.)

The message for Duff seems to be: you're not getting my place without a fight. Players in form and healthy competition for places - just the sort of thing managers want when they talk about having a pleasant headache.

In other news, Robbie Elliott's second spell at St James' Park appears to be at an end. He's turned down a new contract, and since had a trial with Leeds who subsequently opted not to sign him up. Rumour has it he's currently training with the Mackems. What with Steve Caldwell already there, could they have an all ex-Toon central defence in the Championship this coming season?

Though Elliott certainly won't be missed half as much as our other outgoing Gosforth-born player, he's been a professional and patient member of the squad, having been frozen out for long periods. Last term his experience was invaluable in the midst of our defensive crisis, but he did often look exposed with his lack of pace both in the centre of defence and at left back so perhaps the time to move on had come.


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