ALAN Pardew will make a late decision on his goalkeeper for Newcastle United’s pre-season opener.
Last season’s Premier League ever-present Tim Krul won’t be between the posts when Pardew’s side take on Chemnitzer in Germany.
Krul will join up with his team-mates during the club’s 10-day tour of Germany, Austria and Hungary after being given extra time off because of his involvement in Holland’s Euro 2012 campaign.
Instead, either long-serving Steve Harper – who was the subject of an unsuccessful bid from Birmingham City this week – or Rob Elliot will play at the Stadion an der Gellertstrasse.
Harper didn’t play a competitive game for United last season, while Elliot made just one appearance against Nottingham Forest in the Carling Cup.
Pardew admits Elliot wasn’t at his best at the City Ground, but he’s confident the 26-year-old has adjusted to the demands of playing for Newcastle after joining from Charlton Athletic last summer.
“I don’t think there’s much to choose between Harps and Rob Elliot,” Pardew told SportMail. “They’re very different. One is trying to establish himself as a Newcastle player with a future ahead of him. Don’t underestimate him, by the way. I think the fans that went to the Forest game didn’t see the best of Rob.
“He’s definitely a better goalie than that – he’s had to grow into the club.”
Harper, meanwhile, has a wealth of experience, and Pardew insists that the 37-year-old, an influential figure on and off the pitch in the club’s revival, is still an asset to the club.
“Harps comes from a different angle,” added Pardew. “He’s got huge experience – he’s seen it all before. We know he’s in the autumn of his career, but he can still do a fantastic job for us.
“I have to pick and choose at what stage one of them should play.”
Nile Ranger and Xisco have been left out of United’s squad for the pre-season tour of Germany.
Ranger has an unspecified injury while Xisco remains outside the first team picture.
Meanwhile, Steven Taylor – who has a slight hamstring problem – has travelled to Germany with his team-mates.
However, the defender won’t be involved against Chemnitzer.