Aston Villa at Newcastle, a new kit manufacturer and the match

I'd love to be able to tell you something about the match today that would inspire a feeling of confidence, but I'm not even feeling that pre-match optimism that makes me believe we have a chance, if we do everything right.

I feel, right now, that if we leave Newcastle with anything it will be down to luck and we should be grateful. Not that they are really that much better than us - they just have a manager that sends his team out to win. We could beat them with a proper manager.

So, you know my frame of mind and for that I apologise. There is however some news that is just news and you've probably heard about it, but the new kit manufacturer is going to be Macron and well, it just goes to show that our special relationship with Nike, was actually in fact, not a special relationship and just more PR blarney.

A kit manufacturer is just a kit manufacturer and I'm actually happier with Macron because we are a special account for them, in some regard and as long as we have final say on the design of the kit, all will be good and they've done some nice ones.

This news was accidentally announced by Macron and I cant for a moment think that it matters and it shouldn't, but it will. Who wants to buy a copy in claret and blue when we have a new one coming, hopefully in plenty of time before the season starts.

Back to the match

Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote are both missing for Newcastle today but they do have Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse available with Cisse possibly making his debut after joining from SC Freiburg in January after scoring for fun in Germany.

And we've got Alex McLeish wanting more 'snarling' in the dressing room. I'm only joking, I really am. If we can continue playing the way we did against QPR after going two down, you never know what will happen.

Updates, banter and odds

Odds are here for lots of matches and below for today and as soon as we have any team news or anything else, it will go below. Don't forget to also register to the right if you want your comments to appear instantly - if you don't, you can expect a a short delay today.

The team

Given, Hutton, Cuellar, Dunne, Warnock, N’Zogbia, Ireland, Petrov, Clark, Bent and Keane start. On the bench; Guzan, Weimann, Gardner, Bannan, Baker, Lichaj and Heskey.