MIKE Williamson admits there’s been extra pressure heaped on him to help Newcastle United to victory at Stoke City – by his dad!
Williamson senior is a fan of the club’s Potteries rivals Port Vale.
And the Stoke-born defender admits he’s been getting “heat” from his family ahead of tomorrow’s visit to the Britannia Stadium.
While Williamson doesn’t have an allegiance to Vale, having grown up on the south coast, he follows the club’s results.
“I was born in Stoke, and my mum and dad have still got friends down there, but I moved away to Torquay when I was five or six years old,” Williamson said.
“I’m getting a bit of heat from my dad, as he’s a Port Vale fan! He definitely wants us to take three points.
“Torquay United was the team I used to go and watch regularly, and I was on their books. It was a natural progression.
“But I look out for a lot of teams, and Port Vale’s one of them.”
While Newcastle have struggled at St James’s Park this season, most recently losing to Everton on home turf, they took four points from their last two away fixtures.
Williamson and his central defensive partner Fabricio Coloccini also kept clean sheets in those games against Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers.
Blackburn, like Stoke, can be physical and direct, and those performances at St Andrew’s and Ewood Park have given United confidence ahead of what looks a daunting visit to the Britannia Stadium, where Tony Pulis’s side are formidable opponents.
“We defended from the front to the back in that game (against Blackburn), and if we can replicate that, we’ll be more than happy,” the 27-year-old went on.
“We think we’ve got enough physicality to deal with that. It’s all about imposing our gameplan, and making sure we turn up and play.
“We’re strong away, and it proves the mentality and confidence in the dressing room. The lads are looking forward to it, and hopefully getting three points on the board.”
Pulis’s ruthless use of set-pieces, and Rory Delap’s long throws, attracts continued criticism, but Williamson isn’t one of his detractors.
Williamson said: “I know a lot of people talk about their style of play, but I’ve got total respect for the team.
“If it guarantees Premier League survival every season, then the fans will be pretty happy with that.
“That’s why it’s such an exciting game.”