MAGPIES legend Rob Lee has warned Newcastle United to be wary of a wounded animal when Manchester City visit Tyneside tomorrow.
Roberto Mancini’s men are still smarting from a last-gasp derby defeat at the hands of Man United last weekend.
That setback – along with their travails in Europe this season – has led to suggestions that now may be a good time to face the Premier League champions, despite Newcastle’s own recent poor form.
Lee, however, insists Alan Pardew’s side will still be in for a tough encounter.
“They could have beaten Man United, that’s the problem,” the former Toon midfielder said.
“City haven’t lost many games bar the Champions League, and their league form has been very good.
“It will be tough for us to get anything out of the game.
“At St James’s Park, you have always got a chance, but whatever people say about Mancini’s side they’re still full of world-class players.”
The City clash is the start of a tricky festive period for Pardew’s side. They take on bottom side QPR – showing signs of improvement under Harry Redknapp – next week before travelling to Manchester United on Boxing Day, having not won at Old Trafford for 40 years.
They then finish 2012 against Arsenal, and Lee – a veteran of more than 300 games for Newcastle – knows how important the Christmas period is.
“You find out where you’re at,” he added. “If you’re bottom in January, you’ll probably stay there. If you’re in mid-table, that’s probably where you’ll end up.
“It looks like a tough run of games and you wonder where the points will come from.”
Lee is back on Tyneside tomorrow meeting Newcastle fans as an ambassador for Barclays Bank’s ‘Don’t pass it, ping it’ campaign.
Pingit is revolutionary technology developed by Barclays which allows people to transfer money to each other using their mobile phone without needing to be a Barclays customer.
Lee will be appearing at the Pingit photobooth at the entrance to St James’s. Fans can go along and meet him and see how the app works between 10.45am and kick-off at 12.45pm. For more information go to www.barclays.co.uk.