Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew believes Manchester United should be fearful of their trip to St James’ Park on Tuesday.
A win for English Premier League leaders Manchester United would increase the gap on second-placed Arsenal to nine points, but they must first get past a Newcastle side capable of causing an upset.
Pardew’s men were 4-0 down against Arsenal on February 5 but incredibly came back to draw 4-4, and the Newcastle manager believes the partisan home support will make for a difficult trip for United.
“It is a fixture I genuinely believe Sir Alex will be very wary of,” Pardew said.
“Maybe not so much because he fears us as a team, but because he fears the ground and the reaction it can inspire the team to.”
“For example, the Arsenal game – we were 4-0 down and our first goal goes in and suddenly you felt the crowd erupt and impact on the game.”
“That is what he will fear perhaps more than the team, but I honestly believe he will genuinely fear this game.”
Pardew’s side have beaten Liverpool at home this season as well as holding Arsenal and Chelsea, and he believes his men are more than capable of continuing their impressive run over the league’s top sides.
“Of course I am aware of the tradition of the fixture. It is an iconic match,” Pardew said.
“(But) we beat Liverpool, and there is an opportunity for us to get (another) big, big scalp.”
“They have only lost a handful of games all season, but we have looked at how they lost those games and we have come up with what we believe is a kind of theme. They have Rooney, Berbatov, Nani. Our defence – which I thought was very good at Villa – will need to be on song.”
On-loan Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland is in line to make a long-awaited Newcastle debut, but captain Kevin Nolan is suspended.
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