The Black Cats turned in a spirited display as they lost 2-1 at high-flying Liverpool on Wednesday evening to suggest once again that they do have it within their powers to escape the drop. However, they have won just one of their last eight Barclays Premier League fixtures at the Stadium of Light and with their remaining four away games taking them to Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United, that is a situation which is going to have to change, and fast. Striker Connor Wickham has warned Sunderland they have to start to make home advantage count if they are to haul themselves out of the relegation mire. Press Association But England Under-21 international Wickham is ready to play his part if called upon. The £8.1million signing said: “That’s why I came back, that’s why I wanted to come back. That’s what I have said all along: I want to play football and that’s what the aim is to do.” A bullish Sam Allardyce has no regrets at cupping his ear in response to jeers from the West Ham support after Wednesday night’s win over Hull. Home fans stunned Allardyce by booing at the end of a 2-1 victory which could go a long way to securing the Hammers’ Barclays Premier League status, with Monday’s match at Sunderland another crucial fixture. Asked if he regretted making the gesture, Allardyce said: “Not really, no. Why should I? “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. In my younger days I might have done a lot worse and got myself into more trouble.” Allardyce, who accepts he will struggle to have the unanimous backing of the Hammers fans, on Saturday received the support of vice-chairman Karren Brady. “In many people’s eyes no matter what I do I’ll never be the flavour of the month, but that doesn’t matter,” Allardyce added. “(And) you always appreciate any backing you get. Working together is critical to the success for you as a manager and the club. “We’ve all had a difficult season, but we all know we want to get better and do better next season once we’ve secured our place in the Premier League. “They’ve always backed me since I’ve been here. I do appreciate that, because you can focus on the next game and on the future.” Victory at the Stadium of Light should all but secure the Hammers’ top-flight status and would allow Allardyce to plan for the future. He added: “Let’s go and try to win the game. The desperate need for Sunderland to win three points now means it’s going to be hugely difficult. “They will take some comfort out of their performance against Liverpool and will think this is a great chance to try to get to safety by getting three points against us.” Allardyce hopes the atmosphere at the Hull match will be forgotten, admitting the supporters’ barracking impacted on the players. “I’m protecting my players, not me,” he added. “You keep your thick skin on and you move on. My job is all about doing the best I possibly can for West Ham. “The atmosphere is critical to the players’ performance and the players lost a lot of their composure the other night, hearing the criticism that was coming their way and that made life difficult for them. “It’s a small minority always, but small minorities are good at voicing their opinion. “It’s all borne out of frustration because they expected us to win more comfortably than we did. “Everybody in the cold light of day when they calmed down realised how important the win was and everybody has got to realise what we’ve done in the last eight games. “We have 15 points in the last eight games. The most important thing was to win the game, acquire the three points and push on from here.” West Ham are without James Collins at Sunderland after he pulled a calf muscle against Hull. His fellow defenders James Tomkins (knock) and Roger Johnson (bruised eye) should be fit to feature, while Winston Reid has recovered from illness. Winger Matt Jarvis (thigh) is also available again, but Joey O’Brien (shoulder) and Marco Borriello (calf) are out. Gus Poyet’s men host West Ham on Monday looking for a first win in seven attempts in all competitions, and Wickham admits they have to turn around their home form. He said: “We are going to have to, we haven’t got a choice. We need to start picking up points. “We need to start looking at the reality now that we need to start picking up points. Scrappy points or good points, we just need to get the points on the board. “It’s up to us to start performing against not just the big teams, but the teams in and around us and start picking up points.” Goals, or more accurately, the lack of them, have been Sunderland’s most pressing concern for much of the campaign to date. Substitute Ki Sung-yueng’s header at Anfield was their first in four games and just their fourth in the eight outings they have had since the 3-0 derby victory at Newcastle on February 1. That return, coupled with Steven Fletcher’s ankle injury, prompted Poyet to recall 20-year-old Wickham from his loan spell at Leeds, and he was thrown straight into the starting line-up at Liverpool alongside the misfiring Jozy Altidore. Loan signing Fabio Borini, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Saturday, was ineligible to play against his parent club in midweek, but will return to the fold on Monday to leave the manager facing a big decision.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez is confident predecessor David Moyes will have no problems in getting a new job after being sacked by Manchester United after just 10 months in charge. The Scot was relieved of his duties after a disastrous season by United’s standards having been given the unenviable task of succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson after spending 11 years at Goodison Park. Defeat to Everton last weekend was the final straw for the Old Trafford board, who are now looking for a new boss, but despite the fall-out seemingly tarnishing Moyes’ reputation, Martinez is confident he will not be damaged in the long term. “It is not a nice situation when a manager loses his job, especially someone who has such strong links with our club,” said the Spaniard. “It has been a difficult experience but any experience is a good experience in this game unfortunately. “We know David Moyes will look forward to the next footballing chapter. “We all know he is a very successful man and has a real strong winning mentality and he will get ready to bounce back straight away. “It is very difficult to get that experience, the amount of years he has been working at the highest level, and the know-how he has is a real strength. “I am sure he will be ready to get into another job as quick as he can and I am sure he won’t have a lack of offers or opportunities when you have someone who is so hard-working, focused and dedicated in his job. “We all know he is going to be very successful in the future. “We wish him the best of luck and he will always be well thought of and we will always be thankful of the job he did at our football club.” Press Association West Ham manager Sam Allardyce – who has long championed the cause of home-grown managers – would hope Moyes takes some time out of the game before making his next decision. “I wouldn’t advise him to come back into the game sooner. I would come back later if I were him. He has done 15 years continuously – maybe even longer,” said the Irons boss. “To take some time with the family and reflect and enjoy life a little bit more without the pressures of particularly Premier League football will do him the world of good and then when he emerges again, he will come back a better manager than he already has been, and he has been one hell of a manager.” Allardyce feels the process of Moyes’ departure could have been handled better. “On the outside, and not knowing all the facts, (League Managers’ Association chief executive) Richard (Bevan) would know a lot more than me on the process, but from a distance, the leaking (to the press) didn’t look very good,” he said. “For Manchester United as an institution and a football as large as they are, the process looked like it was floored which was a great shame for Manchester United as a brand, and of course David Moyes knowing his fate before he was even told. “That is how it looks from the outside. If that is the case, it is a great shame for David and a great shame that Manchester United chose to use that process.” Norwich boss Neil Adams is focused on his side’s task when his relegation-threatened side visit Old Trafford on Saturday. Adams, who succeeded the sacked Chris Hughton two weeks ago, said: “Obviously, very sorry for David. It’s never nice when managers lose their jobs. “I’m not too fussed over what time it’s come. We’ve just got to deal with it. “There will be a lot of speculation – is it beneficial for us? Is it going to be a hindrance? “It is what it is. We’re playing a good team, with good players who have probably not done as well as they would’ve liked this season, hence what’s happened this week. “You’re naturally going to see a reaction. The crowd will be up for it. “Ryan Giggs is a huge fans’ favourite at Man United, he’s won everything there is to win at domestic level, and he’s one of the best players the club has had. “Naturally there’s going to be a reaction from that. It’s something we’ve prepared for and have to be ready for.” Swansea manager Garry Monk felt Moyes should have been afforded the time to put his own stamp on United. “It does take time. Going into that club as he did, following someone so successful, is always going to be hard,” Monk said. “For any manager, you need time, but nowadays – as we see time and time again in this job – you simply just don’t get the time. “It is results-driven, especially for a club like Man United that is expected to be winning a lot of trophies every single season.”
Robin van Persie has seen glimpses of Sir Alex Ferguson in Ryan Giggs during the Welshman’s brief spell in charge of Manchester United. Press Association The Red Devils go into their final match of the season having scored 63 times – 23 fewer than they ended up with last term. One reason behind that statistic is Van Persie’s injury struggles. The former Arsenal striker, who scored 30 goals last season, was out for six weeks with a thigh problem at the turn of the year and was ruled out for another lengthy period with a knee injury following the 3-0 win over Olympiacos in March. “It’s been a bit up and down for me this year,” said the 30-year-old, who has scored 18 goals this term despite his injury troubles. “I’ve not been fully fit. That is where everything starts. You have to get that full season (of fitness). “You can miss a couple of games, but not many. I missed half (the games) this season. “I am gutted about that and I just want next year to stay fit, do well and compete again. I am sure we will next year.” Giggs takes charge of his final match at the helm on Sunday when United visit Southampton. The 40-year-old made it two wins from three matches on Tuesday night when his team beat Hull 3-1 at Old Trafford thanks to two goals from debutant James Wilson and a strike from Van Persie. Although there has been a clamour for Giggs to be appointed as David Moyes’ successor, the board want someone with more experience, so appear to have opted for Holland coach Louis van Gaal, whose appointment could be confirmed next week. Giggs is yet to decide whether to play on for another year, or seek to become a manager elsewhere. The most decorated player in the club’s history could also form part of Van Gaal’s coaching staff. Whatever he does, Van Persie is sure that Giggs, who came off the bench for a 20-minute cameo against Hull, has a bright future ahead of him. “I witnessed two team meetings as I came in a bit late,” said Van Persie, who returned to the team after a seven-week injury lay-off. “The one from the last game against Sunderland, and Tuesday’s game, were incredible. They were Sir Alex-esque. “He’s been brilliant. And he put in some fantastic passes and almost scored after coming on. He’s a legend and I think he shows that every day.” Van Gaal, who knows Van Persie well due to their time together with the national side, will rely on his countryman to deliver the goals United have been lacking this year.
Press Association Irish rider Trevor Breen continued his winning run at Hickstead by landing Wednesday’s feature class in the Longines Royal International Horse Show. Breen prevailed after a seven-horse jump-off, clocking 40.26 seconds for a clear victory ahead of British European team gold medallist Will Funnell. Funnell, riding Billy Onslow, posted a time of 42.08, with Nicole Pavitt (Tia Semilly) third and Mark Williams (Extensa G) fourth. The show’s international classes get under way on Thursday, with Friday’s Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup round and the Longines King George V Gold Cup on Sunday being the highlights. Breen has returned to the Sussex arena after being crowned Hickstead Derby champion on Adventure De Kannan just over four weeks ago. And he wasted no time in making his presence felt as he took the Winter Grades B and C Championship aboard Classic III.
Arsene Wenger is not intending to sign a replacement for injured striker Olivier Giroud – with Besiktas match-winner Alexis Sanchez proving he is more than capable of leading the line for the Gunners. Press Association “We are open for any position as long as we feel the player can strengthen the squad. Buy to buy? I don’t see the purpose of that.” Arsenal will now go into Thursday’s draw as a top seed and Wenger was pleased with how his players dealt with a tricky second leg against a spirited Besiktas side. “Overall we produced a performance we wanted,” he said. “We were on the level requested tonight against a good team but we couldn’t finish the game off. It was nervous and very difficult in the final 10 minutes when we were down to 10 men. “I wanted to qualify and we did it. You must give credit to Besiktas; they are a closed unit, well-organised, physically strong and technically very good. “We kept (Demba) Ba quiet, he had one chacne with a header at the ened that would have killed us.” Besiktas coach Slaven Bilic, who watched from the stands as he served a touchline ban, refused to critise the referee for not awarding his side a penalty after Jack Wilshere appeared to foul Ramon Motta. Instead the former West Ham defender focused on praising his side and aiming at a tilt at Europa League glory. “They showed a little bit of extra quality in the box,” he said. “We are disappointed on one hand but also so proud. My team gave Arsenal 180 very open minutes. “We didn’t give up and in the last 10-15 minutes we were very exciting and they were on the ropes. Not many teams have done that to Arsenal on their home ground. “We are very, very gutted because we were so close to going through – we are going to come out of this very positive and go in the Europa League. “We are not there just to particpate, we want to do business there and go very far. If we continue to play like this or better, with a couple of more players. “We can go far in the Europa League and fight for the Turkish Championship which is always a priority for our club.” Giroud underwent ankle surgery on Wednesday afternoon and could be sidelined until the new year, with Arsenal already linked to a number of targets to come in and take over from the 27-year-old. But it was summer-recruit Sanchez who scored the only goal of a tense Champions League play-off as Wenger sealed a 17th consecutive season in the group stages of the competition despite having Mathieu Debuchy sent off in the second half. The Chile international scored his first Arsenal goal on the stroke of half-time and Wenger was delighted with his overall performance. “I bought him to play as a striker, not to only play on the flanks,” the Frenchman said of Sanchez. “He had a good game, not only on the technical side but on the fighting side. “He was mobile and dangerous and showed he has great fighting spirit – qualities which will be important in the Premier League.” As well as Sanchez, Wenger also has Yaya Sanago, Joel Campbell and Lukas Podolski at his disposal, while Theo Walcott is another option in attack although he is also currently injured. Wenger denied any interest in Nikola Zigic or Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck and insisted he would not panic buy following the set-back with Grioud. “You will ask me straight away who we will buy. I give you the answer – at the moment, no-one,” he said. “If you want to make everyone happy you buy all of these players but what is important is the performance on the football pitch. If you look at the players we had on the bench and those out injured, we have players. You cannot buy every time a player is injured.
Burnley climbed out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone for the first time since September after extending their undefeated run to four matches. With three striped shirts close by, he negotiated room to shoot where a square pass for Boyd might have been the wiser move. It would not have mattered had his effort nestled in the top corner but Elliot beat the ball away one-handed. The Clarets continued to probe, Kieran Trippier catching the back four flat with a clever chipped pass that Ashley Barnes could only turn into a corner. Soon after Barnes flashed over from an even better opening after good hold-up work from Ings. Newcastle were playing largely on the counter but began to string chances together, Sammy Ameobi stretching Tom Heaton with a skiddy shot across goal and Cisse blazing high into the stands following a deft set-up by Gouffran. Heaton made a second decent save after 32 minutes, rushing to smother Mehdi Abeid’s toe punt. But it was Burnley who were playing with greater control and they were rewarded with the opening goal a minute later. Ings turned Trippier’s speculative long ball into something much more dangerous, winning the aerial battle and cushioning a perfect header into Boyd’s path. The Scot took a touch out of his feet and fired past the unsighted Elliot from 20 yards for his second of the season. The lead might have doubled just before the break when another deft touch from Ings invited Jones to shoot, only for the midfielder to miss the target. Pardew did not hesitate to change things, hauling off Williamson and Ayoze Perez at the break and sending on Steven Taylor and Remy Cabella. Within three minutes the scores were level. Cabella nearly made an instant impact, his goalbound shot blocked by Stephen Ward, but the goal arrived seconds later. Janmaat’s cross was flicked on instincively by Gouffran at the near post and Cisse rifled home from close range. Immediately the match took on a new complexion, Newcastle finally playing with fluidity rather than rushed breaks. Burnley were forced back, Cabella revelling in the space behind Cisse and captain Cheick Tiote starting to snap into tackles in the centre. The home side suffered another setback when Ward hobbled off, handing Ben Mee a first appearance since October 18. But the fort was holding for Sean Dyche’s men, who were happy to see Abeid twice launch hopeful long-range efforts over the top. The game began to open up again in the last 20 minutes, Burnley regaining territory and asking questions of their own again. They also asked for a penalty when Michael Keane’s header hit a Newcastle player at point-blank range but it would have been guesswork by Phil Dowd to call handball. Press Association A matter of weeks ago they were the only club in English football’s top four tiers not to have won a game, now with eight points from the last 12 on offer they are out of the drop zone. Hull replace them in 18th place, though they have a chance to change that on Wednesday night. Burnley’s resurgence has been built around the return to form and fitness of Danny Ings and although absent from the scoresheet he was again in excellent form. His cushioned header provided Boyd with the chance he needed to break the deadlock in the 33rd minute and whenever the ball came close to him in the final third, he gave fright to the Magpies defence. But a draw was the right result and Cisse’s fifth of the campaign set Newcastle back on course after a winning run of six matches ended in defeat against West Ham on Saturday. United boss Alan Pardew was relieved that his worst fears were not realised before kick-off, Daryl Janmaat, Massadio Haidara and Mike Williamson all passed fit. But he was still without a handful of injured regulars and stand-in goalkeeper Rob Elliot, deputising again for the absent Tim Krul, was called into action in the eighth minute. David Jones’ one-touch pass set Burnley off in attack, giving Scott Arfield licence to run before touching the ball through for Ings. The match itself was unremarkable, an occasionally untidy 1-1 scuffle lit up by George Boyd’s 20-yard opener for the hosts and Yoann Gouffran’s clever flick that teed up Papiss Cisse’s equaliser. But the significance of escaping the bottom three is huge to Sean Dyche’s Clarets.
Pulis is still looking to appoint a goalkeeping coach and remained tight-lipped on his former Stoke keeper Carlo Nash landing the role. He is also hopeful of adding to his squad to aid their fight against relegation with the Baggies 14th in the Barclays Premier League, but three points above the drop zone, ahead of Monday’s trip to Everton. “It’s an important two weeks in the window, important for the football club,” Pulis said. “The players we bring in have to be better than what we have, they have to make a difference. It’s a difficult window if you haven’t been preparing. “We have to make sure players are right. We’ve been busy behind the scenes but it’s very difficult. We have to get that team winning. I really do think it will be tough.” The Baggies boss admitted he heard Jewell was interested in the vacant Charlton job. The Addicks instead appointed Guy Luzon and Jewell left West Brom on Tuesday, following the arrival of Gerry Francis on a part-time basis, just a week after he was appointed joint-assistant head coach. Press Association Jewell, who has now been linked with a coaching job at Hull, is taking legal advice in the wake of his departure but Pulis insisted it did not come as a shock. “I had a phone call on Sunday saying Paul was in for the Charlton job. I spoke to him on Sunday but that was the last time I spoke to Paul,” he said. “I have been concentrating on getting stuff sorted out at this football club. I have been non-stop. “If it was going to be Charlton, Hull or whoever he is a good lad to have on board. “He has been linked with a few jobs, so we’ll see what happens. I hope he gets back into it, that’s where he should be and where he belongs.” Pulis is looking to appoint a replacement and spoke to chairman Jeremy Peace on Thursday but is in no rush to find a new man and will continue to work with long-time number two Dave Kemp. He said: “Myself and Kempy have done it by ourselves before and Gerry (Francis) comes up every other day. “We will get on with it. People make decisions and that’s it, you move on. I have got nothing but respect for Paul, he is a good guy.” Head coach Tony Pulis has hinted he knew Paul Jewell could quit West Brom 48 hours before his exit.
Press Association Aston Villa host Manchester United in the first Premier League clash of the weekend on Friday night. Here, Press Association Sport looks at five of the main talking points ahead of the match. 1) CAN WAYNE ROONEY PROVE HE IS THE RIGHT MAN TO LEAD UNITED’S ATTACK? Wayne Rooney started last year’s draw at Villa Park in midfield, but he will play as a lone front man on Friday night. United manager Louis van Gaal is so convinced Rooney will be able to score 20-30 goals this year that he claims he does not need to sign another striker. The United skipper scored just one goal in pre-season and looked rusty against Tottenham. Will his season spark into life at Villa Park? 2) CAN DALEY BLIND SILENCE HIS DOUBTERS? Blind is primarily a central midfielder, but Van Gaal is convinced his compatriot is good enough to play at centre-half for United. Alan Shearer disagrees, claiming on the eve of the Spurs game that he would love to come up against Blind every week. The former Ajax man is comfortable on the ball, but lacks strength. Christian Eriksen brushed him off the ball last week. At 6ft 4in tall, Rudy Gestede is a far more imposing figure than the slight Dane, and the Villa striker will target Blind on Friday. 3) CAN SERGIO ROMERO PROVE HE IS A WORTHY NUMBER ONE? With David de Gea still unable to focus on his game, according to Van Gaal, Sergio Romero will start in goal for United. The Argentinian performed reasonably well against Spurs, particularly when you consider he had barely been at the club for two weeks before his debut. But the Argentinian was barely tested and his goal will come under a more sustained threat against Villa. Romero was not good enough to hold down a place at Monaco last year so is he really the answer to United’s goalkeeping problems? 4) WILL FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL WORK? The match has been brought forward a day because of policing reasons, but next year, games will be played on Friday nights every week. Ending the week by going to a top-flight match under lights is a good idea in principle, but is it practical? United fans travelling by train will not arrive back in Manchester until the early hours of Saturday morning. The last train from Aston to Manchester Piccadilly leaves at 10:32pm and arrives at 01:28 after changes at Birmingham New Street and Crewe. Those who finish work after 5:30pm have no chance of getting to the game on time via train, and those making the 170-mile trip via car will have to leave early as the M6 is notoriously bad for traffic on an evening and roadworks are taking place on junction 17. 5) CAN TIM SHERWOOD TURN VILLA INTO A TOP-SIX TEAM? Sherwood was parachuted into the Villa job in February and in his previous job at Tottenham, he was appointed three months into the season. This is the first time he has had a pre-season with a club and he has made his mark, signing nine players, with a 10th not far away in Adama Traore from Barcelona. Sherwood has lost Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke, but this is now his team and his survival depends on whether he can turn them into a consistent and potent force again. The time has come for him to prove whether he really is capable of becoming a successful top-flight manager.
Monk, however, was delighted after Swansea built on their opening-day draw away to champions Chelsea with a comprehensive victory, courtesy of goals from Bafetimbi Gomis and Andre Ayew. “I talked to the players all week that good teams and good players are able to back up good performances with another one,” Monk said. “We did that and we executed the plan very well. “We looked dangerous at points of the game and showed maturity when they went to 10 men as we didn’t force the game but took the openings when they came.” Newcastle’s defeat came after an opening-day draw at home to Southampton, and McClaren said: “We’ve learned nothing today apart from we need to keep 11 players on the field. “I don’t think you can judge us on that game and that performance, which is a shame. “It’s kind of a waste of a game when we need to learn about the players and how we go about things.” Newcastle went down timidly to a 2-0 Barclays Premier League defeat after right-back Daryl Janmaat had been sent off four minutes before half-time for two bookable offences. The Dutch defender was booked for his second foul on Montero after 17 minutes and, after almost bringing him down again inside the penalty area, he was banished for tugging back the Ecuadorian winger deep inside Swansea’s own half. Press Association “You could see their tactics was basically try and kick him (Montero), and full credit to the referee for spotting it straight away,” Swansea manager Monk said after the game. “Quite rightly the player was sent off in the end. “We talked before the game about Jeff being protected and that’s important because it will be a tactic going forward.” But Newcastle boss McClaren dismissed Monk’s claim that Newcastle had sought to stop Montero by targeting him for rough treatment, with the former England manager insisting his team do not play that way. “We haven’t got a team capable of doing that and I don’t think the game represents that now,” said McClaren. “Our team is a football team, not kickers, so I would dispute that. “As always, you make your presence known to your opponent, which we did, but there was one tackle too many. “I thought the red card was harsh, he was a long way from goal and it was a little tug. I thought the referee could have been lenient.” Steve McClaren rejected Swansea boss Garry Monk’s accusation that Newcastle tried to stop Jefferson Montero with a tactic to “basically try and kick him”.
“I just play the way I play and don’t put pressure on myself because I know my quality. The manager knows as well that he can use me as a striker or on the side. I don’t have any pressure, I just want to feel better and with the game which is coming I maybe have an opportunity to play more. We will see.” Remy scored 14 goals in 27 games for the Magpies on loan from QPR in 2013-14 and backed United, winless and second bottom in the league, to recover from a nightmare start after being dumped out of the League Cup by Sheffield Wednesday. “I am surprised because they are a big team and strong. I am sure they will get better very soon,” he added. Loic Remy insists he can fill the void left by the banned Diego Costa at Chelsea. The striker admitted his substitute role has been difficult but he is ready to convince Jose Mourinho to hand him more starts. Costa has been banned for three matches after being found guilty of violent conduct by the Football Association following a clash with Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny on Saturday. The incident, in which Costa appeared to raise his hands to the Gunners defender, was not seen by referee Mike Dean during the match, which Chelsea won 2-0 as Arsenal were reduced to nine men. Costa was banned for Wednesday’s 4-1 Capital One Cup win at Walsall as Remy scored his first goal of the season and the 28-year-old insisted he is ready to perform the striker’s physical role ahead of Saturday’s trip to former club Newcastle. “I don’t have a choice, I have to do it. When we play for Chelsea it’s a question of giving the best 100 per cent, so of course I will do the best I can,” he said. “I think we will miss him because we know how important he is for the team but we are all focused on winning games. Whoever is on the pitch we will try to do the best we can, of course it’s a shame for us to lose him. “Whoever is on the pitch will give their best. It’s my old club so it’s always a pleasure to play against them. The manager will decide and pick 11 players, we’ll see on Saturday.” Remy has made just six Barclays Premier League starts since joining from QPR last summer but has netted seven goals and could deputise for Costa at St James’ Park. He has played for only eight minutes in league action so far this season, and admitted he recent role has been tough. He said: “It’s very difficult, I can’t lie. When you come in you have to do the best but when you are not playing much it is more difficult. I cannot complain, I want to play and when the manager wants me to come I just come and try to score goals. Press Association