Toon should not stand in the way of Shola's World Cup bid
Shola Ameobi's Newcastle United career has certainly had its fair share of ups and downs - but as the player prepares to come back from injury to warm applause, the prospect of the Academy product playing at the World Cup finals in South Africa has suddenly left Chris Hughton facing showdown talks with the big striker.
The African Cup of Nations tournament in Angola poses bigger problems for Newcastle and Ameobi.
Not only will United be without their striker for up to a month, the chances of him returning back from Angola are high due to the dry and bumpy pitches in a tournament that has also never, ever lacked a physical edge - you could say that the African Nations Cup is a tournament that still includes full blooded challenges that would have the Alice band and gloves brigade of modern football in tears!
In theory Ameobi could miss all of United's games if Nigeria - his native country - get to the final.
That would see Shola miss four league games and at least one FA Cup game.
Perhaps, given that United have stayed at the top of the league without him, that is no major loss.
And with Peter Lovenkrands, Andy Carroll and Nile Ranger still here Hughton, to coin one of his favourite phrases, would have to "assess the situation" come January by which time he will have made a decision on whether to keep Marlon Harewood.
By not letting Shola go to the African Nations Cup though, Hughton will only be left with a miserable player who will feel his World Cup dream is about to slip away forever.
WOULD YOU LET SHOLA PLAY AT THE AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS?