Newcastle’s Capital One Cup exploits have made a refreshing change from their usual knockout competition failings under Alan Pardew.
Eliminated by Stevenage and Brighton (twice) in recent years, Pardew suggested “this run has eased the embarrassment a little bit” ahead of their visit to White Hart Lane in the competition’s quarter-final.
His shame should be that much closer to pride come full time in north London, with Newcastle looking a cracking 3/1 bet to eliminate the Lilywhites in 90 minutes.
Having previously steered West Ham to within minutes of FA Cup final glory and lifted the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Southampton there should be little reason to genuinely doubt the Magpies manager’s cup credentials.
Their hosts (4/5 for victory) have struggled against Premier League foes on home turf of late, winning just one of the last four such clashes.
Among those to profit from their backyard impotence were the Magpies themselves, recording their second successive triumph at the Lane in the process.
Meanwhile another away draw shouldn’t worry Newcastle unduly, with Pardew’s side having overcome three road ties to reach this point in the competition.
One thing that potential Toon backers might find off-putting are the continued injury doubts and suspensions surrounding the squad.
Papiss Cisse is out, while Mike Williamson and Cheick Tiote are doubts and Daryl Janmaat is suspended.
However, in outlining his approach to squad utilisation in the League Cup Pardew seemed to suggest there was little to fear on that count, saying:
“I have taken a little bit of a gamble one or two selections in this competition, but it’s paid off massively for me. I feel very confident about the whole group. In saying that, we will be very strong at Spurs.”
With the likes of Mehdi Abeid and Moussa Sissoko expected to return to the lineup it seems the ‘Cockney Mafiosi’ may be as good as his word.