Steve Harper is confident NUFC can cope with Euro demands

EUROPEAN veteran Steve Harper’s confident Newcastle United’s squad can cope with the demands of the Europa League.

The goalkeeper’s hoping to start tomorrow night’s qualifier against Greek side Atromitos after playing in the first leg.

Manager Alan Pardew made nine changes for last week’s game in Athens.

And Pardew, mindful of the demands of the Premier League, with Aston Villa visiting St James’s Park on Sunday, is expected to again rotate his squad.

However, Harper, 37, believes United should be competitive in Europe – whatever side takes to the field.

“The manager’s drummed it into us that if you aren’t in the team, you need to be knocking on the door,” Harper told the Gazette.

“This gives a few people the opportunity to do that.

“It is a good competition, and worth being in. It’s a good opportunity to use your squad.

“Ideally, when you get further into the group stages you can spread things out a bit more.

“You can probably increase the competitiveness of the team as well.

“But we’ve put a good side out in the first stage, and we fully expect to do well.”