Injury hit Toon squad aiming high in Frankfurt
With Lee Ryder in Frankfurt
Steve Cram may not have appreciated it but Newcastle United fans arrived in their droves in Frankfurt today determined to see their injury ravaged side finish UEFA Cup Group H on a high.
Cram was on the connecting flight to Amsterdam this morning with United fans heading for Germany and several Toon supporters exchanged banter with the Wearside-born athletics legend who is a self confessed Sunderland nut!
Whether the Geordies are still in high spirits on the way back remains to be seen.
But it was a youthful looking squad that set off for Frankfurt today.
With just 12 senior players on the flight from Newcastle today the squad was more like the reserve pool that usually runs out at Kingston Park.
Matty Pattison, Kris Gate, Fraser Forster, Paul Huntington, David Edgar and Andy Carroll were just a few of the Toon kids on board and all may get a sniff from the bench tomorrow night.
Despite the injuries - and the late arrival of Albert Luque - Glenn Roeder was in fine spirits at the Commerzbank Arena as the UK and German Press quizzed him ahead of the Euro tie at the same venue England beat Paraguay in the World Cup - just 25 weeks ago.
Luque was involved in a car accident ahead of the game but could still feature - Roeder says he's on his way after a chat with police about the incident.
Whether Shay Given will emulate Paul Robinson in trying to hit the huge scoreboard above the centre circle is unclear but one thing that is clear for United in Germany tonight is that the injury hit Toon squad are up for the challenge against the Bundesliga outfit with over 1,500 fans here to roar them in.
Tomorrow night will be a 47,000 sell-out and with stadium staff putting the final touches to the big stage here in Frankfurt, this still promises to be a big occasion.
Indeed the home side know they have to win to keep things alive or face potential elimination while Newcastle require a point to top the group and avoid the Champions League drop-outs.
So it's all pretty much set up for an interesting night in a little over 24 hours time.