NEWCASTLE United boss Alan Pardew is looking for an early Christmas present – a big-name scalp.
Pardew’s side were at Old Trafford this afternoon looking to end a 39-year run without an away win against Manchester United.
And the fixture is followed by a home game against Chelsea a week today.
Before Newcastle embarked on a daunting three-game sequence against the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea, Pardew set a target of three points.
United were beaten 3-1 by Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last weekend, leaving the club looking to set themselves up for a run of more winnable games next month by beating either the Premier League champions, or Andre Villas-Boas’s struggling, but expensively-assembled, Chelsea team.
And it’s the last of the sequence which Pardew feels Newcastle are best placed to take advantage of, though he’s hopeful his players can take something from their second successive trip across the Pennnines.
“You look at the three games, and all along I’ve felt Chelsea’s going to be the one which is going to be more advantageous to us,” Pardew said.
“It’s going to be a full house, and 52,000 Geordie’s screaming at Chelsea will give us an advantage.
“We’ve got this bonus game (against Man United) to try to get a win. If we could take three points from the three games, it would be magnificent. It’ll set us up for December.”
The sums spent by the likes of City, Chelsea and Man United, which run into hundreds of millions of pounds, are mind blowing.
Newcastle, by contrast, have repeatedly turned in profits in transfer windows under the ownership of Mike Ashley.
And the odds, Pardew admits, are stacked against his team whenever they take on one of the established “top four” teams.
“We’re going to try everything we can to do it,” Pardew said. “I still think the odds are against us, and I don’t think many pundits will actually give us three points, but that’s what we’ll try to get.
“I think it’s understandable if you look at the teams we’re playing, and what the players they’ve brought in have cost.
“I don’t like it when managers moan about how much money other clubs have got, but you’d have to say we’re outsiders in the two games we’ve got coming up, and probably favourites in the next one.
“It’s difficult to overturn those odds, but we’ll try to do that.”