Before our second round tie at Scunthorpe and ahead of Tuesday night's Carling Cup third round tie at the City Ground in Nottingham, I have read a lot of debate on Social Media sites and Newcastle United forums about how seriously we should take the Carling Cup this year.
We HAVE to take it seriously. Why?
First and foremost, we have not won a domestic trophy in a ridiculous 56 years. 56 YEARS! Who are we to turn our backs on a tournament that offers a trophy at the end? Of course there are no guarantees and to go all of the way we need the luck of the draw and some luck on match days, but when you consider that seven different sides have won this tournament in the past ten years it is not altogether unrealistic. 22 different teams have won the trophy in its 50 year history and sadly we are not one of them.
One of the main arguments that I have read against us taking this competition seriously is that we should be focussing on the league and that we have a thin squad. Despite our fantastic start to the season (we sit in fourth place as I type) I think we all know that a top four (or even top six) finish is a pipe dream and will not happen. We have the quality to finish 7th but our lack of bodies means that we could finish anywhere from 6 to 16th! So lets have a crack at this!
Forest are in the Championship relegation zone after a difficult start to life under Schteve McClaren â€“ they might be looking to rest players in this one as they look to revive their awful league form. Then again they might also view this as an opportunity to revive their season. Either way we have more than enough to win the game.
I was encouraged by Pardewâ€™s strong selection at Scunthorpe and I would go with much the same here â€“ the vast majority of the players who have been stating games this season supplemented by the players who have shown real promise â€“ Marveaux for example. Hatem Ben Arfa may also be in contention, which would be fantastic.
A good run could give us a great day out at the new Wembley Stadium. I have attended every game that weâ€™ve played at Wembley in my life time (sadly that is not too many games!) and, despite the fact we havenâ€™t won any of them, I had a fantastic time.
And finally, Europe. The Europa League has its knockers but I would love to see us playing European football again. I had some amazing trips abroad during our many European years and would love to travel to watch the Mags again.
Come on lads, lets have a go.
You can follow me on Twitter @MarcSDuffy
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