Metalist fear top man Moussa

MAIN MAN ... Newcastle United's Moussa Sissoko.
MAIN MAN ... Newcastle United's Moussa Sissoko.

METALIST Kharkiv fear Newcastle United’s man-of-the-moment Moussa Sissoko.

But the club’s coach, Myron Markevich, doesn’t think his side will be facing a French team.

And instead Markevich is expecting an old-fashioned English test from Newcastle United at St James’s Park.

The two teams meet tonight in the first leg of a Europa League Round of 32 tie.

Markevich – who brought his players to Tyneside last week to start preparations for the game – has been impressed by United’s recent performances, notably the Sissoko-inspired 3-2 home win over Chelsea.

“I’ve looked at Newcastle’s team,” said Markevich.

“They’ve very speedy, and play a European style of football. According to their recent games, I can say I like their style of play.

“Against Chelsea, I liked Sissoko, and the two wingers (Yoan Gouffran and Jonas Gutierrez). Also Tim Krul the goalkeeper – he’s a very good player.

“The team is very dangerous, but we will try to do everything we can to win.”

There will be a strong French influence in Pardew’s starting XI, with Sissoko, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Yohan Cabaye all in the frame to start.

But Markevich – whose team are fourth in the Ukrainian Premier League – is expecting Gallic flair to be backed up by English grit.

“There can be no doubt we’re playing an English team,” he added. “But the French players will help them.

“It will be a great pleasure to play against this English team.

“It’s important to play a good game – if we play badly, Newcastle will go through.”

Metalist drew 1-1 with non-league club Whitley Bay on Sunday, and their decision to play a warm-up match on Tyneside underlined the seriousness with which they are taking the tie.

Markevich said: “It was part of our training, and the game fitted our expectations.”

Kharkiv will be backed by around 600 travelling fans at St James’s Park.