Losing end to Development Tour
JOEY Barton, Wayne Routledge, Nile Ranger and James Perch were all involved as Newcastle's development squad ended their pre-season tour of Holland with a 3-2 defeat to Almere City. While the senior squad prepared to end their incident-packed American sojourn with an overnight game against Columbus Crew, the Magpies' fringe players, plus a handful of enforced absentees from the States, will head back from Holland after a much less stressful trip. Mike Williamson is already back in the North-East as he prepares to attend the birth of his child, and it remains to be seen whether the defender will be considered for Sunday's trip to Leeds United. Alan Pardew will also have to decide whether to field Yohan Cabaye at Elland Road after the summer signing was left out of yesterday's game in order to prevent summer burn out. The players that were involved in Almere made a dreadful start, with Rihairo Meulens and Mikhail Rosheuvel firing their Dutch opponents into a two-goal lead within the opening five minutes. Ranger, who has been the subject of a formal inquiry from Championship side Birmingham City, pulled a goal back shortly after, but Almere restored their two-goal cushion when Barton conceded a penalty, enabling Mitchell Kappenberg to convert from the spot. Sammy Ameobi reduced the arrears with 18 minutes left - this time, unlike at The Northern Echo Arena, there was no pitch invasion - but Ranger wasted a decent chance of an equaliser late on. Newcastle's senior squad will return to England later today, with Pardew no doubt relieved the club's overseas travelling is at an end. There will still be trips abroad, but they will only involve club officials attempting to recruit the missing piece of the Magpies' attacking jigsaw. Paris St Germain's Mevlut Erdinc remains the club's leading target, although French sources claim the striker has once again expressed reservations about moving to Tyneside. Newcastle were linked with Spurs duo Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe yesterday, but neither is believed to be a viable transfer target. After the Andy Carroll thing, I am not going to use the word promise' because it is a dangerous word, said Pardew. However, I am confident we will get a striker in. After the Orlando game (on Saturday) there were plenty of fans who came out to see us and mentioned on more than one occasion to me, Where's the striker' It is not something that is far from my mind. Everybody will start making moves shortly. We do not want to miss out, but we are ahead of the game. We have been trying to bring a striker in for a while, we are ahead of the game. We know exactly what the market is and we will pitch in when it is right. NEWCASTLE (vs Almere): Soderberg, Airey, Moyo, Perch, Richardson, Barton (Edmundsson 65), Donaldson, Xisco (Inman 61), Routledge, Ranger, Sammy Ameobi.
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