ALAN Pardew is wary of Wellington Phoenix – but he still expects Newcastle United to win.
The two clubs meet in New Zealand’s capital tomorrow in the final game of the Football United Tour 2014.
Both clubs won their first games in the tournament – Newcastle beat Sydney FC 4-0 while Wellington overcame West Ham United 2-1 – and Pardew is predicting a keenly-contested pre-season fixture.
But he feels the influx of summer arrivals at St James’s Park has transformed a team which struggled to find the net in the latter months of last season.
“They beat West Ham 2-1,” Pardew said. “That was a surprising result.
“They’re obviously competitive and have got good players.
“It might be a difficult game for us at the moment, but we’re in a good place.
“The group are really working hard. There’s a good spirit amongst them, and I do expect to win.
“The boys have really worked hard.”
New signings Siem de Jong and Emmanuel Riviere were among United’s scorers against Sydney FC in Dunedin on Tuesday.
“It showed on the pitch that our offensive options are obviously greater than last year,” said Pardew.
Teenage striker Adam Armstrong also found the net in that game after coming off the bench.
The second-half strike was his first for the senior team.
“It was unbelievable to score my first goal for the first team,” said Armstrong. “I grew up dreaming of scoring for Newcastle – like every boy in the city – and to get it in Tuesday’s match was amazing.
“It was such a buzz when the ball hit the back of the net and hopefully there will be more to come.”