Belfast Telegraph

Perch wary of Bale threat

Newcastle midfielder James Perch has warned his team-mates they will have to deal with the complete player if they are to return from Tottenham with a positive result.

The side currently sitting in fifth place in the Barclays Premier League will attempt to close the gap on their counterparts in third when the Magpies arrive at White Hart Lane. Alan Pardew's men will run out knowing they will have their work cut out after securing a 2-2 draw with Spurs at home in October only courtesy of Shola Ameobi's late equaliser.

In particular, they will have to find a way of curbing in-form Wales international Gareth Bale, who has scored three times in as many games to enhance his growing reputation as one of the hottest properties in English football. Perch said: "He's come on in leaps and bounds over the last couple of years."

He added: "We know what we are going to get when we go down there. He's quick, he's strong, he can finish, he can shoot from outside the box, he can cross - he is the all-round player.

"Danny Simpson will have a job marking him. But the last few times he has played against Gareth Bale, he has done really well - outstandingly, in fact - to mark him."

Pardew's side have bounced back from disappointing league and cup defeats by Fulham and Brighton respectively to claim maximum points from their league trip to Blackburn and last weekend's 2-1 victory over Aston Villa.

That has rekindled hopes of an unlikely top-six finish and perhaps even more, although the manager is well aware of the threat Spurs' pace and attacking approach could represent.

Pardew said: "They are scary and you have to make sure you have got bodies in the way, you put your body on the line when you get into critical situations.

"Tottenham make you defend with the old alarm bells ringing, so you have got to get your body in the way, you have got to make saves, you have got to make tackles.

"But you have also got to offer a threat and that's something that not many teams have done there this year. I think they have only dropped seven points at home. It's a very difficult place to go."


From Belfast Telegraph