Newcastle are moving forward - Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew will send his young guns into European battle in Bordeaux tonight under orders to keep the Newcastle revival going.
The Magpies ended a run of four successive Barclays Premier League defeats with a much-needed victory over 10-man Wigan at St James' Park on Monday night to prompt a huge sigh of relief on Tyneside.
Asked what the Wigan victory had done for confidence, Pardew said: "It has lifted everyone. I was pleased with the fans' reaction - they were great on the night. I think it buoyed everyone and lifted all of our spirits. We can go forward now and hopefully not get into that position again."
The Magpies have already extended their stay in Europe into 2013 regardless of what happens at the Stade Chaban-Delmas, and, while Pardew accepts first place may not guarantee a significantly easier draw in the next round, he will send his players out with a plan he hopes will allow them to win the game.
However, the big guns will be largely absent with Davide Santon, Jonas Gutierrez, Cheick Tiote and Demba Ba having stayed at home nursing injuries which the manager hopes will clear up in time for Monday's league trip to Fulham. In their absence, Shane Ferguson, Gael Bigirimana, Sammy Ameobi and, perhaps most significantly, Nile Ranger will all start.
Pardew said: "There will be some good young players on show. Bigi, who played on Monday, will play. He's obviously in good form and has good confidence from Monday night. Fergie and Sammy will both play, and they have good confidence from that win, and I'll be looking for good performances from them."
But it is 21-year-old Ranger whose presence after a difficult spell in his career on and off the field which is perhaps the most eye-catching.
Pardew said: "Nile will start. I think he's probably the story of the last two or three months in terms of a positive."
Ranger and his team-mates will hope to shake off the after-effects of several frustrating hours sitting on the tarmac at Newcastle International Airport as heavy snow delayed their departure. However, Pardew insists that cannot be used as an excuse.
He said: "Half of the north was stopped - the A1 was shut when we flew over it. We are okay. We are good to go."
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