Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ferguson Pushing for Big-Game Spot; Ferguson Pushing for His Spot

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ferguson Pushing for Big-Game Spot; Ferguson Pushing for His Spot

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas ? (0191) 201-6281 ? mark.douglas@ncjmedia.co.uk

NEWCASTLE United intend to field strong sides for two "massive" home games with the potential to shape their season this week.

And it says much about his recent emergence that Shane Ferguson could feature in both.

United welcome Europa League pacesetters Bordeaux and title favourites Manchester United to St James' Park over the next six days.

And Magpies manager Alan Pardew is targeting two wins to kick-start a frus-trating campaign. He has told his players it will be two strong selections but Ferguson - who has set up two goals in brief cameos against Reading and Manchester United - should feature.

"It's a big week. The threegame period that started with Reading was a big period," Pardew said.

"Fergie is pushing hard. It's hard to get in the team but I'm really pleased with him, he's been terrific. He has a natural left-foot delivery that really we haven't got in the squad, that's why he's so important."

While Ferguson looks set to start, Pardew has less options in the centre of defence - where he lost Steven Taylor to a calf strain on Saturday.

The centre-back was removed partially as a precaution after injuring the same leg where he ruptured an Achilles last season.

He should be back in time to play Manchester United but he has no chance of playing in midweek - along with skipper Fabricio Coloccini. The latter could also play next Sunday though.

Pardew said: "I think Colo isn't far away.

Fingers crossed he might play next week - I think Man United will be sweating on Colo and Steven getting fit.

"Fingers crossed one of them will be." In the meantime it will be down to James Perch to replicate his performances at centre-back last season, and banish the memories of Saturday. …

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