Pardew won’t gamble with FA Cup
ALAN Pardew will give the FA Cup respect it deserves – and field his strongest Newcastle United side tomorrow.
Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion stand between the club and a place in the competition’s fifth-round.
And Pardew doesn’t intend to rest any more players than he needs to at the Amex Stadium, the scene of Sunderland’s Carling Cup exit earlier this season.
Newcastle haven’t got beyond the fourth round in six years, and last year’s campaign was brought to an abrupt end by League One team Stevenage.
While mindful of the demands of the Premier League, Pardew – who came close to winning the cup as player and manager with Crystal Palace and West Ham United respectively – believes it would be a gamble to field a weakened team.
While some top-flight managers will be making a number of changes to their starting XIs, Pardew doesn’t intend to tinker with his team.
“I saw a stat the other day that intrigued me – any Premier League team that makes more than four changes puts themselves at risk,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“I think managers need to take note of that. It’ll be interesting to see how that stacks up this weekend.
“The cup competitions, I personally really look forward to. We’ll be sending a strong side to Brighton, and, hopefully, getting a positive result.”
Five top-flight teams will be knocked out in this round, giving an added incentive, if any were needed, to United, who last won the FA Cup in 1955.
There are five all-Premier League ties, and should they progress to the next stage, the field will be significantly weakened.
“For us, it’s a competition we can focus on,” added Pardew.
“We’ve got ourselves in a good position in the league. We’ll be sending a strong team.” Meanwhile, Brighton manager Gus Poyet – whose two goals for Chelsea denied United a place in the 2000 FA Cup final – has paid tribute to the job Pardew has done at St James’s Park.
“What he’s done at Newcastle is incredible,” said Poyet, pictured.
“I’ve been watching, and if you need to think about an impressive team, it’s Newcastle.
“When a team’s doing badly, a manager gets the pressure, and he will be sacked, so when a team is doing well we need to praise the manager as well.
“Alan’s done very well, putting together a great set of players and he deserves credit. They’re a very difficult team to beat.”
Poyet has called for his team to repeat their heroics against Sunderland, beaten 1-0 at the Amex Stadium in August.
The club’s run in the Carling Cup was ended by Liverpool at Anfield in the next round.
“It’s a cup game, and you always have a chance,” Poyet added.
“Saying that, in terms of their quality, their performances and the way that they’ve been playing, you would say that Newcastle are favourites. That’s not me trying to put pressure on Newcastle, or trying to play any mind games. That’s just the reality.
“It’s one-off game, and with the atmosphere and the players’ excitement, it’ll be a great game.
“We will need to be very good and we need to be playing the way we did against Sunderland, because we were very good defensively and going forward. We were decent against Liverpool, and that’s what makes us think that maybe we had a chance.
“We need to make sure that we are very good on the day.”
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