Yet we can expect Shearer to kick the underachieving squad in the "Nicky" (butt), bring in the walking wounded (Michael Owen and Mark Viduka), if only to show some sort of healing miracle, and feed the 55,000 crowd with hope and optimism.
And Newcastle can probably manage an improbable win, as do all moribund teams when a fresh injection of inspiration arrives. So it's a tenner on Newcastle (9-2 generally) – but check the fixed-odds coupons which might have printed bigger prices before news of Shearer's return.
Meanwhile, a fully resurrected sporting god will appear at the US Masters in Augusta, Georgia, next Thursday – Tiger Woods confirmed his recovery from serious knee surgery by swooping late last Sunday in Florida to overtake a mere five-shot deficit. You can sense that he has targeted his revival to include the winning of his favourite tournament.
The best price at this stage is just 2-1 (sportingbet) but I think it's worth taking – to a £20 stake. The main threat to Woods may come from Geoff Ogilvy, who is in confident form – £10 each-way, 25-1 Blue Square.
*Expresso Star (above) ran away with the Lincoln and won't be in any more handicaps. Meanwhile, in the Australian GP, Robert Kubica drove a perfect race, closing in on second, if not first place, when he was mullered by Sebastian Vettel.Reuse content