Pardew ready for 'great' clash with United

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is preparing himself for a high-octane shoot-out as Manchester United roll into town intent on revenge.

Newcastle vs Chelsea: Alan Pardew, Papiss Cisse

The two sides last faced each other on Tyneside on January 4 when Sir Alex Ferguson's men left on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline having been comprehensively beaten.

They have gone some of the way towards making amends since with a 2-1 Capital One Cup victory over Pardew's team at Old Trafford last month, but they will head to the north-east determined to return with three points.

Both sides have defensive injury problems, and that - coupled with the riches the two managers have at their disposal in attack - suggests it could be an entertaining encounter.

The Magpies' Demba Ba already has six goals to his name this season, while United's flying Dutchman Robin van Persie has seven, and Pardew sees similarities between the two.

He said: "Van Persie's confidence levels set him apart at the moment. He is one of those players who actually believes he's the best, and that's dangerous.

"Usually even when things are not going well and they are missing chances, they still think they are going to score.

"Demba is a little bit like that - he has that kind of attitude. There will be great strikers on view on Sunday, for sure.

"There will be so much ability on the pitch, you can't help but think there are going to be some great moments in the game - hopefully more for us than them."

Pardew will once again be without first-choice goalkeeper Tim Krul - indeed, he will have 19-year-old Jak Alnwick on the bench with Rob Elliot having picked up a groin injury against Bordeaux on Thursday evening - and central defenders Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor.

But Ferguson too will have key absentees at the back with Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones - who scored an own goal in last season's game - still out.

Pardew said: "Both me and Alex will be sweating defensively. Our two centre-halves tomorrow have played almost every game - (James) Perch and (Mike) Williamson - and their two centre-halves could well be (Michael) Carrick and (Rio) Ferdinand, so it's not ideal.

"You want to have fresh players for games like this, but they are not and that favours the strikers for Sunday."

However, while the Newcastle manager may not have fresh central defenders, he was able to rest Davide Santon, Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Ba for Thursday's 3-0 Europa League victory over Bordeaux in which his side rediscovered the kind of form which helped the finish fifth in last season's Barclays Premier League.

It was little coincidence that a much-improved team display included perhaps the best individual performance of the campaign to date by France playmaker Yohan Cabaye, whose central partnership with the combative Cheick Tiote was such a feature of the club's return to prominence during the last campaign.

Cabaye, who scored against the Red Devils last season with a stunning free-kick, could hardly have chosen a better time to slip into top gear with derby rivals Sunderland waiting in the wings after the United game and the break for international matches.

Pardew said: "Yohan and Cheick looked like the pair they were when they were at their best last season.

"It's taken us a while to get there. They have had injuries and illness - they haven't actually played together much, and we have still picked up points.

"We have got our side almost back together, but not quite. But hopefully if we can get through Sunday with a positive result and everybody fit, I think we will have two or three back for the Sunderland game, and obviously that's a big game too."



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