Alan Pardew believes his Newcastle side can pull off a shock result when they visit league-leaders Manchester United on Boxing Day.
The Magpies recorded a crucial victory against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday and Pardew is keen that they take their new-found confidence into the Old Trafford clash.
“It’s a big day for the team – it’s a two or three-day turnaround,” Pardew told the Shields Gazette.
“I’d like to think at Man United on Boxing Day we can produce a shock. We’ll have to wait to see if we can.
“I might make a couple of changes to freshen it up, but I’ll have to give that some thought with (assistant manager) John Carver.
“We have to put a team out there which is diligent, and hopefully does the job.
“We’ve put ourselves in a position where we can take a big team on – three or four weeks ago we wouldn’t have said that.
“Prior to Stoke, you would have said we might be in trouble, but we’re more solid, and look like we have a game plan.”
Saturday’s goal scorer Shola Ameobi has made a strong case for a starting berth against United, as have French midfield duo Gabriel Obertan and Sylvain Marveaux, who played well after coming off the bench against QPR.
“It was nice to see Obertan back,” said Pardew. “Sylvain looks sharp, and is now threatening to take a first-team berth. It looks a little bit better.”
The Toon have a poor record at Old Trafford, where they have not won since 1972.
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