ALAN Pardew is targeting a repeat of last season’s “special” defeat of Manchester United – and wants a fever-pitch St James’ Park to play its part.
Back in January Newcastle trounced the Red Devils 3-0 in arguably one of their most complete home performances of a memorable season.
Pardew’s men seem to be coming into some form but even so, replicating that performance and result will be difficult against a Manchester United side who will pair Robin van Persie with Wayne Rooney tomorrow.
He knows how difficult it will be, but Pardew feels that a full house at St James’ Park could potentially play in Newcastle’s advantage.
“The venue and the passion from the fans plays a part – you can’t ignore that,” he said.
“It’s an easy cliché to use for a manager – they are our 12th man – but it does play a part. Trust me. When I go to Old Trafford it’s daunting for the opposition.
“It’s the same with the Etihad, the Emirates and our place. At ours there is probably a bit more electricity about it, purely because of the way the city is – it’s football mad. That is reflected in the performances of the team.
“Last season’s win over them was special. It’s always difficult to beat Manchester United – they only lose a handful of games a season, even less than that. So to win in the style we did was very pleasing.
“Ironically the scenarios are very similar. We had defensive issues and so did they.
“We got the goals at the right time and ended up winning the game, but it could have gone the other way as it always can do against great clubs and teams.
“I think this will be close, but the first goal won’t decide it – the last one will and I hope it will be ours.”
Meanwhile, the Newcastle boss (below) tactfully ducked the question of whether Steve Harper’s re-emergence has put Tim Krul’s number one status under threat.
“I haven’t thought about that and I don’t want to think about it,” he said.
“It’s not a nice thought to have. I always pick the team which deserves to play.
“Tim had a great season last year, started this one well too, but Harps has come in and done well as has Robbie (Elliot).
“So something which a lot of people thought was a negative for us (when Krul was injured) has actually turned into a positive.”