Newcastle United’s Krul gunning for Brugge boost

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TIM Krul is confident of success at Club Brugge as Newcastle look to book a place in the Europa League’s knockout stage tonight, writes MILES STARFORTH.

The goalkeeper is expected to start against the Belgians at the Jan Breydel Stadium as manager Alan Pardew fields a strong team in the hope of qualifying for the round of 32 with two group stage games to spare.

“We’re doing great at the moment – we’ve had some great results in the group – but they showed they are a decent side at our place,” Krul said.

“It won’t be easy, but if we could nick a good result, we’ll be doing really well for the next couple of games coming up.”

Asked if Newcastle are capable of winning the competition, Krul added: “It’s hard.

“We just want to win every game – we know we’re capable.

“We’re not afraid of any team, but it’s not just about us. If we progress to the next stage, there will be Champions League teams dropping down.

“You will have to be lucky as well with who you’re drawing. The draw is important. We’ve been unlucky with the domestic cups.”

Brugge are in turmoil after the dismissal of manager Georges Leekens, who presided over a poor run of form.

Krul has experienced managerial comings and goings himself at St James’s Park, and he said: “It’s not nice.

“There’s a lot of change and uncertainty for them, but, like the manager said at the press conference, it could be a plus point or it could be a minus.

“We’re looking sharp, and we’re hoping for a good result.”

Brugge made life tough at St James’s Park a fortnight ago – United won 1-0 thanks to a second-half Gabriel Obertan sdtrike – and Pardew is predicting a difficult game.

“They’re a tough team,” Pardew said.

“They have three or four outstanding players in their team, as you’d expect from a side that are expected to win their league.

“They’re having a rough patch, but when you have great players that can produce, we have to be on our mettle and make sure we deliver.”

Veteran keeper Steve Harper has stayed behind on Tyneside, and Pardew will choose between Krul and Rob Elliot, who has returned to fitness after a spell out with injury.

Fabricio Coloccini and Cheik Tiote – suspended in the Premier League after their recent dismissals – will both start.

Pardew added: “We have a strong side playing, and a win will guarantee us qualification.

“It’ll be a team that I hope can win. There are one or two youngsters in there, but they deserve their chance.

“Cheik looked really bright (yesterday in training). These games are a godsend. Now Fabricio comes into that category.”

Pardew left behind injured pair Danny Simpson (shoulder), Demba Ba (shin) and James Perch (thigh), while Hatem Ben Arfa and Jonas Gutierrez have been rested.

United have fixtures at home to Maritimo and away to Bordeaux to play after tonight.