Same again please lads

By Lee Ryder on Feb 14, 07 01:19 PM

Newcastle arrived at their hotel base this afternoon in Ghent hoping to emulate their previous two visits to Belgium.

An Intertoto Cup rout of Lokeren in 2001 sent Geordie fans back the England in good fettle last time out but perhaps many fans remember the first game back in Europe for two decades under Kevin Keegan when the Entertainers tore Royal Antwerp to pieces in 1994 in a 5-0 hammering here in Belgium.

Since then of course the European adventure has continued for United and the travelling Toon Army with their Premiership history packed with glorious memories of some of the best stadiums in the world.

Barcelona, Kiev, Rotterdam, Milan, Marseille to name but a few.

However, United arrived today on a 9.45am flight as the overwhelming favourites when they take on part-timers Zulte Waregem in Ghent.

And the team appeared to be in confident and happy mood as they chilled out on the plane, exchanged banter and more importantly in the case of Steve Harper and James Milner, made sure the prize possession of the training ground dartboard arrived safely at the hotel.

Milner and Harper have a healthy and long running rivalry when it comes to dart but their playful banter is testament of the good spirit in the camp.

Not on board, however, was their skipper Scott Parker who missed the trip with a tight hamstring after inspiring them to the 2-1 win over Liverpool on Saturday.

It's all positive stuff for the Magpies at the moment with a little change of scenery almost a mini-winter break from the Premiership.

But Glenn Roeder has already stated the importance of the tie tomorrow night in the round of 32 and he expects nothing else but progress into the final 16.

So although the opponents pose less of a threat than the Liverpools, Arsenals and Chelseas of the world, nobody is taking anything for granted.


oxboy said:

The lads have done us proud in europe this campaign.
Yet again a changed defense but how things have changed for Butt. At the start of the season still maligned by many he will deservedly start tonights game as captain with an excellent season so far.
It wont be easy but it never is in the crazy world of the toon.


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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