Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: We're All Behind the Boss, Says Harper

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: We're All Behind the Boss, Says Harper

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Gilder in Palermo

STEVE Harper last night insisted Newcastle's embattled players are all behind Glenn Roeder as the St James's Park boss strives to revive the club's stuttering season.

And the United keeper has told his team-mates it is time to come out fighting as their manager prepares to embark on the most important period of his Tyneside tenure.

Roeder's side will put their Uefa Cup prospects to the test in Palermo this evening before returning to the UK to take on Sheffield United in the Premiership on Saturday and Watford in the Carling Cup next Tuesday evening.

Having seen former England boss Sven-GUran Eriksson again linked with Newcastle this week - a report rubbished by chairman Freddie Shepherd - United's players know the pressure is rising. But Roeder retains the support of the dressing room and a player who experienced difficult days at St James's Park in the past is confident in the 50-year-old's abilities as he attempts to put things right.

"The lads are 110% behind Glenn," said the Magpies keeper, who is doubtful for tonight's meeting with the joint Serie A leaders as the result of a suspected hernia.

"We have all seen what has been said about Eriksson and we all knew it was very unlikely. I have been here a long time and I have seen it before.

"It's water under the bridge, speculation is going to happen. But the squad is behind the manager and we have proved that in the cups this season. It seems to come around in circles. I'm one of the few players who has been here and seen it before and it's not nice.

"The way to get through it is to stick together, get your heads down and work your way out of it. It's the only way to do it. As for the speculation, that's out of our hands.

"We're all right behind the manager. We're all in it together. It's not unsettling, it's a media frenzy. There are some easy headlines but you just ignore them."

Although Roeder insisted last night that the Uefa Cup is high on the club's list of priorities this season, improving a poor run of Premiership results that has left Newcastle fourth from the bottom of the league standings and in danger of dropping into the relegation zone, this weekend is United's chief concern. …

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