MIKE Williamson will be handed the unenviable task of stopping Andy Carroll at St James’s Park tomorrow.
The defender was taken off during Thursday night’s 2-2 Europa League draw against Club Brugge to keep him fresh for the challenge.
Williamson - who faced Carroll in training day in, day out during the striker’s career at his hometown club - will line up alongside Steven Taylor in the centre of Alan Pardew’s defence in the absence of captain Fabricio Coloccini.
Taylor replaced him at the Jan Breydel Stadium, where Pardew’s team fought back after going two goals down.
And given West Ham’s strength at set-pieces, their success at the back is central to Newcastle’s hopes of taking all three points against Sam Allardyce’s powerful side.
“I took him off (against Brugge), because he’s got Andy Carroll on Sunday,” Pardew said.
“I hoped I’d get to that situation. Obviously, if we had injuries, or we were chasing the
game, I wouldn’t have been able to do that.
“It was nice for that plan to work out, and for Steven to have 20 minutes, and Willo to
Coloccini, Newcastle’s defensive lynchpin, will serve the first game of the three-match ban he was handed for his dismissal against Liverpool at Anfield last Sunday.
He will also miss games against Swansea City and Southampton.