Newcastle United’s Alan Pardew targets two wins from two

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ALAN Pardew is targeting a home double for Newcastle United – wins over Atromitos and Aston Villa.

Pardew’s players are preparing for the decisive second leg of the club’s Europa League qualifier on Thursday night.

That game is followed by a clash against Paul Lambert’s struggling Villa at the Sports Direct Arena on Sunday.

Newcastle drew 1-1 with Greek club Atromitos in Athens last week, thanks to a stunning Ryan Taylor free-kick, and the prize at stake in the Magpies’ first home European game since March 2007 is a place in the competition’s group stage.

Pardew – whose side lost 2-0 at Chelsea on Saturday – is looking for back-to-back wins.

“We have now got to try to squeeze past Atromitos and beat Aston Villa,” Pardew said.

“That, for me, would be a great start (to the season).

“It really would be, but we’ve still got the two games to win.”

Pardew will be without Shola Ameobi, the Tynesiders’ second all-time leading scorer in Europe.

Ameobi has a hamstring problem, and faces several weeks on the sidelines.

But injury-plagued midfielder Dan Gosling hopes to kick-start his Newcastle career against the Greeks.

“I feel good,” said Gosling, who started the first leg in Athens.

“Hopefully, there’s many more games to come this season, and it’ll be a big year for me.

“The fringe players that aren’t playing could get opportunities in Europe, and whoever plays, has to get it right, and give the manager another headache for the weekend.”

Looking back on the first leg, the ex-Everton man added: “We controlled the first half, and that’s how we’re trying to play this year – we’re trying to get more passes in.

“We did that. We’d have liked to have got the second goal, and won the game, but we’ll take a 1-1 draw back home. Hopefully, we’ll progress.”

H Tickets for the Atromitos tie cost £15 (adults) and £5 (concessions).