Belfast Telegraph

Pardew urges Taylor to stay calm

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has ordered Geordie boy Steven Taylor not to allow the derby atmosphere to get to him as he plots victory over Sunderland.

The Magpies head into Sunday's pre-Christmas showdown at St James' Park desperately looking to avoid a fourth successive defeat at the hands of their arch-rivals and intent on righting the wrongs of back-to-back 3-0 home defeats at the hands of the Black Cats with a victory.

Pardew's current squad, despite its cosmopolitan nature, has the most sizeable home-grown contingent the club has been able to boast for some time, and while the manager insists that will not necessarily be a factor in the game, he admits he may have to instruct one or two of the locals to curb their enthusiasm.

He said: "If I'm honest, I don't think it's a factor in the game, but I will be looking at one or two who maybe get emotionally involved.

"Probably the one who worries me the most is Steven Taylor. He wears his heart on his sleeve and he plays like that sometimes in this fixture.

"I've spoken to him about it. I think this time around he will be a lot calmer and if he plays, he will be in better shape."

Central defender Taylor has been a target for some Sunderland fans ever since he offered a less than complimentary assessment of their squad in a pre-derby interview in October 2012, although he appears to revel in role of pantomime villain.

However, both sets of fans and the two clubs have worked hard to try to take some of the poison out of a fixture which has too often boiled over off the pitch in recent times.

Bridges have been built in the wake of the MH17 Malaysia Airlines disaster in which Newcastle supporters John Alder and Liam Sweeney were among 298 passengers and crew to lose their lives, with Black Cats fans raising more than £33,000 for a memorial.

Pardew, who revealed his players will not be bussed into the ground as they have been for recent derbies, said: "We are trying to get away from all that unsavoury stuff.

"They have come across the bridge from Sunderland and you have to pay credit to them for what happened over John Alder and Liam Sweeney.

"I would like to think we would meet them there and treat this as exactly what it is - a football match. I've tried to follow the pattern of the security, the police and fans and everything said online.

"We won't take a bus to the game this time, we will turn up as normal and hopefully it will be a fantastic football match, although the passion will be no less, the intensity will be no less, which makes it unique in itself, more than any game I've ever played in or managed.

"Therefore, whatever the result, we will shake hands."

Pardew will hope to shake hands with opposite number Gus Poyet with a smile on his face after having had to swallow the disappointment of home defeat to Sunderland in each of the last two seasons, although he is convinced the current crop of Magpies will not be caught out this time around.

He said: "They (Sunderland) are very well organised and average two passes before they score, which tells you that they capitalise if you make a mistake.

"If ever there was a template of why they won the games against us, it's that. They punished us, and we can't afford to make those mistakes."

Meanwhile, Pardew revealed that midfielder Jonas Gutierrez will play for the reserves on Monday as he works his way back to match fitness following his return from treatment for testicular cancer.

He said: "The changing room is now getting changed to a samba beat, with Jonas singing at the top of his voice and walking around naked as normal. It's great to have him back."


From Belfast Telegraph