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Newcastle V Southampton at St James' Park : Match Preview

Updated 23 Feb 2013 23:49:14

Newcastle V Southampton at St James' Park : Match Preview

Newcastle V Southampton - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Pardew turns attention to league survival

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has warned his players to forget about their Europa League heroics and concentrate on the task of dragging themselves to Barclays Premier League safety - starting with Sunday's visit of Southampton.

The Magpies booked a last-16 clash with big-spending Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala next month with a 1-0 victory over Metalist Kharkiv in Ukraine.

However, despite his delight at the win, just his side's second on the road in all competitions this season, Pardew swiftly turned his attention to the visit of his former club to St James' Park and the quest for another three points to ease themselves clear of the fight against relegation.

Asked if Europe now had to be put to one side for the time being, Pardew said: "Yes, for sure.

"We have got two very important Premier League games and if we could get three, four points out of those two games, I would take that now.

"It would give us a good angle to go into the next phase of the Europa League."

Goalkeeper Tim Krul is a doubt after picking up an ankle injury against Metalist.

The Holland international was hurt by a Jonathan Cristaldo challenge and hobbled away from the Metalist Stadium on crutches, but manager Alan Pardew is hopeful that he can retain his place in the team despite putting Rob Elliot on alert.

Midfielder Cheick Tiote could return after missing the 1-0 win in Ukraine through illness, full-back Mathieu Debuchy and striker Yoan Gouffran, who are ineligible in Europe, are available once again, while Davide Santon is back in training after an ankle problem.

Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring) will not be rushed back after 10 weeks on the sidelines.

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino hopes a new contract can be agreed with Jason Puncheon over the coming weeks.

The 26-year-old joined from Plymouth just over three years ago but his time at St Mary's has not always been plain sailing.

Puncheon spent several loan spells away from the club after losing his place in the first team and little over a year ago took to Twitter to criticise Southampton executive chairman Nicola Cortese.

The winger threatened to see out the rest of his contract training with the reserves and youth team, but the pair patched up their differences and he has now become an integral part of the team.

So much so, in fact, that Southampton fans are clamouring for Puncheon to extend his stay beyond the end of the season - something Pochettino would also like to see.

"I myself haven't spoken anything about his contract," the Argentinian said, speaking through a translator.

"I've only recently arrived so my first priority has to be the whole of the team, not just one player.

"There are certain movements that were already happening with players when I arrived.

"In the coming weeks we will be speaking at a club level with the appropriate people to decide on the matters of players at the club.

"Puncheon is a player I am counting on and he is a player that has certain qualities and skills that are good for the team so, yes, I'd like him to stay."

Defender Luke Shaw and midfielder Gaston Ramirez are set to return to the Southampton squad.

The pair missed the 3-1 defeat of Manchester City two weeks ago with knocks but could feature at St James' Park.

Defender Jose Fonte remains sidelined with a knee complaint, while striker Guly do Prado is a doubt. Midfielder Adam Lallana could make his first start since suffering a knee injury on December 8 and defender Vegard Forren could make his debut.


PA

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