Alan Pardew insists the momentum Newcastle United have built up over the last few weeks has left them confident of claiming victory against a resurgent Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Magpies stand sixth in the Premier League after five wins, one draw and a defeat in their last seven games.
Pardew was frustrated by his side’s inability to gain more than a point against Southampton at St James’ Park at the weekend, when Loic Remy missed two gilt-edged chances.
Yet he was satisfied to have restricted close rivals in the table to a draw, thus staying above the Saints.
Though he admits the coming weekend’s trip to Selhurst Park will be tough, after the Eagles registered three wins from their last five matches, the United manager believes his team’s own fine form provides a good base from which to claim three points.
He said: “It was a frustrating one (against Southampton) but also, I’m sort of proud of the team because I thought it was a tough game.
“They give as good as they get, Southampton, in all of the games they’ve played. I said that in the programme notes. We were pushing towards the end, Hatem Ben Arfa had some nice moments when maybe he could have opened them up.
“Yet for an away team, they did enough to get a draw.
“The clear-cut chances we created weren’t many but we did have two real, real good ones.
“We perhaps should have scored those.
“You’d expect Loic to score. He had two glaring opportunities and you have to really earn your chances against that team and you can’t really afford to miss them.
“In the end it proved costly.”
Pardew added: “I’m not disappointed, that’s for sure. It keeps the momentum going.
“I didn’t want to lose to them, they’re right around us so we stay above them and we go to our next game, which is Crystal Palace away.
“It’s a tough game but you’d like to think we can win that.”
First, Newcastle expect to learn today whether or not they will face an FA charge following a touchline bust-up between the respective clubs’ coaching staffs towards the end of Saturday’s game against Southampton.
The club have also been linked with a loan move for Manchester United’s Wilfried Zaha, while long-term strike target Luuk de Jong has revealed he may be on the move in January.
United were tracking the Dutch international 18 months ago, only for de Jong to join Borussia Monchengladbach in a £12.6 million deal.
However, the 23-year-old has fallen out of favour at the Bundesliga club.
The player himself has said this week: “I am planning on putting my advisers and my father together with people at Gladbach.
“We will see what happens after that.
“We need to sort things out. A transfer? Things can happen very quickly.”
Meanwhile, sources in France claim Paris St Germain are set to step up their interest in Yohan Cabaye when the transfer window opens.
The French international sat out the opening two league games of the season, Arsenal having lodged a £10 million bid.
He has returned to the side in emphatic fashion, winning back the support of fans and, crucially, scoring the winner at Manchester United recently.
Not being cup-tied, however, he remains an attractive target for clubs in the Champions League.
For the Qatar Investment Authority-backed Paris giants –who face Bayer Leverkusen in the last 16 of Europe’s top competition – money is no object.