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Pardew wants to win for Speed
Published : 01 Dec 2011 16:17:00Rss feed
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is hoping his players will pay the biggest tribute they can to Gary Speed by firing his former club to victory over Chelsea.
The Blues will arrive on Tyneside on Saturday for the first game to be played there since the famous St James' Park was controversially renamed the Sports Direct Arena, but there are more important matters to consider, with the Magpies set to celebrate Speed's life before the match.
The former midfielder wore the black and white number 11 shirt with such distinction during six and a half years with the club, and Pardew revealed how his players want to pay their own respects, saying: "Our players will be desperate for us to win to pay a tribute in that way. We can't guarantee that, of course, but we are going to try."
He added: "He was a great player here and a captain of this club, and he has been a big loss to us this week.
"The training ground has been heavy, particularly the first two days, because we had a lot of staff and players who don't just remember him as a great player, but as a great person, so it has been a difficult week.
"Even today (Thursday), it was a little bit low, but hopefully by the time the game comes around, we can at least prepare ourselves mentally."
Assistant boss John Carver, who worked with Speed during his time as number two to Sir Bobby Robson, and players Steve Harper, Shola Ameobi and Steven Taylor, all knew him well, and Pardew knows he and the rest of his staff will have a job to do before kick-off with Carver having been hit particularly hard.
He said: "He's going to take part...he's not okay, he's very, very upset. He was very close to Gary and he's going to find it probably more difficult than anyone on Saturday.
"I will put my arm around him and get him right for the game because he's very important to us.
"I don't think the players will have a problem to respond once the ball is kicked and competitive action starts, but there will certainly be one or two players in that line-up who will be very, very upset, for sure. I will make sure my coaching team will go round and get them right for the game."
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