NEWCASTLE United’s Vurnon Anita will come in from the cold against Manchester City tonight.
United manager Alan Pardew has left out the midfielder from the starting XI for the last three games.
But he revealed that Anita will start the fourth-round Capital One Cup tie against Man City at St James’s Park (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Holland international was an unused substitute at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
And Pardew will make a number of changes to “freshen up” his team given the “physical and emotional” toll the club’s 2-1 defeat to Sunderland took on those who played.
“Vurnon will play,” Pardew explained. “If this was a Premier League game, I’d still have to freshen it up because of the emotion and physical output on Sunday.”
Pardew also suggested Anita, signed from Ajax last year, is a contender to start Saturday’s home Premier League game against Chelsea.
He feels the 24-year-old has got to grips with the pace and power of English football.
“Vurnon is a great player to put in,” said Pardew.
“He’s in good form, and I don’t think he’s going to do anything but enhance his chances of playing against Chelsea.
“His physical output and his speed has increased since he’s been here.
“He’s become a better specimen for the Premier League and that’s showing.”
Meanwhile, Man City defender Pablo Zabaleta sees the Capital One Cup as a good opportunity for the team to get back on the winners rostrum.
He said: “Last season hurt us. We finished second to (Manchester) United, and lost the FA Cup final. This club cannot accept silver medals.
“The manager always tells us that we have the squad to challenge in everything.
“He will always try to put a strong team to win every game.”