Pardew - Good results attract stars
Alan Pardew is hoping Newcastle can extend their run of top form to help him both keep his biggest players at the club and attract new signings in January.
Back-to-back Barclays Premier League victories over Chelsea and Tottenham have given the Magpies' season a markedly different complexion and have gone some of the way towards proving Pardew's assertion that his strongest XI is more than capable of competing with the leading teams.
The 52-year-old has spent virtually every transfer window since his arrival on Tyneside in December 2010 praying the club could hang on to its biggest names amid fevered speculation over the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Tim Krul.
Newcastle flatly rejected Arsenal's overtures towards Cabaye during the summer - the Gunners did not come close to meeting their valuation of the player - and Pardew firmly believes the France playmaker's form for both club and country since - he starred in their 3-0 World Cup play-off victory over Ukraine in midweek - justified their stance.
He said: "Yohan's performance this week has validated what we did in the summer in not letting him go.
"I went to see Portugal and one or two of their players went for big, big money and I don't think they are as good as Yohan.
"Yohan proved that on Tuesday night - 'Le Petit Prince', he was called the next day in L'Equipe, and that's what he was. He's a fantastic player.
"It's important that we keep our results strong for keeping our players in January, but also to attract maybe one or two new ones."
Newcastle headed into the international break sitting in ninth place in the table following a battling 1-0 victory at Spurs in which keeper Tim Krul was outstanding.
They are only three points adrift of the top six and, with no European football to stretch their relatively meagre resources this season, are hopeful of making a much better fist of things than they did last term, when relegation became a distinct possibility.
However, Pardew knows they have to maintain momentum, something they have not always managed to do in recent years.
He said: "There have been many times, even before I was manager here, when this club has shot itself in the foot when it gets in a great position, and it's very important that we show the consistency on Saturday for our fans and bring a performance here that backs up Chelsea and Spurs, very important.
"We have got ourselves in a poised position, and now we need to capitalise on that, something we have not done well in the last 18 months.
"Go back two years, and we were capitalising on these positions, and that's what this team needs to bring home, that if we win, we can put ourselves right in the mix, and that's what we need to do."
Pardew will be without in-form full-back Mathieu Debuchy, who is suspended after collecting his fifth booking of the campaign at White Hart Lane.
However, he will have Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor and Paul Dummett back after injury and Jonas Gutierrez following compassionate leave.
Norwich manager Chris Hughton admits there can be little place for sentiment as he looks to leave former club Newcastle with all three points safely back on the away team bus.
Hughton guided the Magpies to the 2010 Championship title when he was appointed full-time boss following a caretaker spell, only to be dismissed by owner Mike Ashley in the December despite the team sitting in mid-table and having won at Arsenal.
Following his somewhat harsh exit from St James' Park, the 54-year-old went on to have a succsesful spell at Birmingham, making the play-offs and competing in the Europa League, before taking charge at Carrow Road, eventually guiding the Canaries to safety in the top flight once again.
Hughton received a warm reception from the Toon Army on his return to the north-east last season, where Norwich lost 1-0, but maintains all that will be on his mind this weekend will be securing a positive result for his current employers.
"As a returning manager, it is always very difficult," said Hughton, whose side beat West Ham before the international break to move out of the bottom three.
"Yes, I was very appreciative of the response I got (last season), but you are there to ultimately take your team to try to get a result - that means more than anything
"If you come away from there bitterly disappointed because you have not won or played particularly well, then it does not make it a good game.
"Last season I was not disappointed with the performance, we just did not get the result."
Asked if he would be happy to be on the end of some boos at full-time if it meant Norwich had won, Hughton quipped: "I would be happy to walk away with the points, yes."
The Norwich manager continued: "For me it was probably a bigger deal last season to everybody else.
"I enjoyed going back last season, apart from the result, which always affects how you feel because you can only really enjoy it if you get the result or close to the performance you want.
"I am certainly not bitter, and I will look forward to go there again.
"I have some very fond memories and a lot of friends still there.
"But when I left there always wanting to look forward. Now, I am Norwich manager and am enjoying it."
Hughton will take charge of his 50th Norwich match since succeeding Paul Lambert.
Despite having lost six of the first 11 Premier League outings this season - including a 7-0 humilation at Manchester City - Hughton feels he has seen enough in some of the performances to remain positive of avoiding a season-long scrap for survival.
He said: "At Arsenal we ran them very close and at Stoke we won, so although it has been sporadic we have shown we can on our good days perform away from home.
"So we can't go to Newcastle and not have a belief we can get something."