ONSIDE: Threat to Newcastle United is Crystal clear

Onside
Onside

I HEARD an amusing one-liner about Sunderland the other day.

Sorry, I heard another amusing one-liner about Sunderland the other day.

It seems their lot cannot agree on the merits or otherwise of Jozy Altidore.

“Altidore,” said one Wearsider. “He’s like Emile Heskey without the goals.”

Always in need of new material, it’s a gag I’ve been happy to constantly repeat since.

Needless to say one of the 357 people I shared it with was bound to have a Vicar of Dibley moment and pondered out aloud: “But Emile Heskey did not score goals.”

The rest though understood the comparison.

For all Altidore’s undoubted strength and ball control, his Premier League goalscoring record for both Hull and Sunderland makes one Emile Ivanhoe Heskey looks prolific.

A little like Shola Ameobi against Sunderland, however, Heskey usually notched against Newcastle.

Which brings us on to one Cameron Jerome.

Another member of the Great Non-scoring Centre Forwards Club, the hard-working striker is suddenly transformed into a lethal finisher when facing Newcastle’s back four.

So that’s two goals Alan Pardew’s side need when they face their manager’s former club Crystal Palace this weekend.

Tony Pulis, the man whose route-one tactics were apparently too Neanderthal for those football connoisseurs at Sunderland, has transformed his new charges in less than a month.

Two successive home wins suggest a harder game for Newcastle, who haven’t lost at Selhurst Park for 29 years, than previously looked the case.

I’m going for a 1-1 draw with Palace patiently stifling the Magpies’ counter-attacking game and relying on set pieces and long throws to unsettle the visiting defence.

Just prey Jerome has got on the end of one before left-back Dean Moxey does his Rory Delap impression by hurling another exocet into the tiring Toon’s box in the 96th minute.

– GAVIN LEDWITH

@GLedwithHMail