NEWCASTLE United manager Alan Pardew says there’s a palpable excitement around his players ahead of tonight’s Capital One Cup quarter-final against Tottenham Hotspur.
It’s almost like they’re about to go to a “funfair”, in Pardew’s view.
A sold-out White Hart Lane, however, isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Asked about the mood in the camp ahead of the tie, Pardew said: “There is a spring in the step.
“There are people wondering if they are playing, and what a chance this is.
“It’s like going to funfair, I guess.
“When you are young, you are really looking forward to it because it’s going to be exciting and that’s the sense you get – and there’s where we are.”
United have never before reached the quarter-finals a domestic cup under Pardew – the club did reach the last eight of the Europa League the season before last – and the 53-year-old has previously labelled that record “embarrassing”.
It’s a record he – and his players – are keen to change.
“This run has eased the embarrassment a little bit,” said Pardew, whose team will be backed by 4,200 supporters in North London just four days after being beaten 4-1 by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
“I don’t think it will take away the pain of Brighton and Stevenage, and the Cardiff game which we should have won.
“That was such a disappointment, and we carried that for a little while in our mood and personality.
“I just hope that whatever happens that we put a performance on for four 4,000 fans. There are not many clubs who would go to Arsenal, come all the way back up, have a rest and then go back down to London again.
“I appreciate that, and their support is important.”
Pardew’s options have been limited by injury and suspension, but he feels he can still name a strong starting XI just four days before the Tyne-Wear derby at St James’s Park.
That said, there’s still room for manoeuvre.
“It’s only these competition where you can look at players with hope and ambition for them,” said Pardew.
“That’s difficult in the Premier League, the level is such.
“I have taken a little bit of a gamble one or two selections in this competition, but it’s paid off massively for me.
“I feel very confident about the whole group. In saying that, we will be very strong at Spurs.”
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