Newcastle chasing double

Posted by Lee Ryder

AllsportWill Yohan Cabaye be able to focus amid transfer speculation?

Newcastle United will head to Norwich City on Tuesday looking for their first Premier League double of the season.

But even before a ball has been kicked at Carrow Road, the Toon Army know their side will have to fight hard to earn it against a Chris Hughton side that will be revved up to the maximum to help keep him in a job.

Hughton probably doesn't fully deserve the hand he's been dealt by the Norwich fans after offering them Premier League stability in the last two seasons.

- PSG rebuffed in Cabaye bid

However, he goes into the game as a man under pressure, with many City fans believing they should be punching higher than the 12th spot they currently occupy.

Had you offered Norwich fans that position when they dropped into League One not so long ago, I'm sure they would have bitten your hand off.

Yet in the current Premier League world there are high expectations.

It's easy to forget that Norwich finished some distance ahead of the Magpies only last season. But Newcastle will go to Carrow Road feeling they should be adding to their impressive tally of six away wins thus far.

To make it seven they will have to dig deep and I expect this one to be a bit of a battle as Norwich continue the plucky stance that sees them fending off relegation and within swinging distance of a top 10 spot.

Hughton will always be remembered with warm memories at Newcastle. The former Toon boss achieved great things on Tyneside amidst very difficult circumstances.

Yes, he did inherit a good squad going into the Championship in 2009, but he managed to bring the group together and didn't have any money to spend on new faces in the early months of the second tier experience.

Throw in the fact that every team in that division deemed beating Newcastle as the big scalp -- in almost FA Cup giant-killing manner -- and it is obvious that Hughton did a great job.

That's why I think it will be a tough battle at Carrow Road.

Hughton gets his side up for games like this and while many Norwich fans feel he is under pressure he is used to fire fighting his way through hot situations.

With trusty assistant Colin Calderwood alongside him and Jonas Gutierrez -- currently on loan from Newcastle -- plus ex-Toon star Seb Bassong there are plenty of links within the club that have inside knowledge of all things Newcastle.

Whether Hughton survives in the Norwich hotseat remains to be seen. Yet he will know that beating his old club Newcastle for the first time will be a major step towards relieving that pressure.

As for Alan Pardew? He goes into the game amidst fresh transfer talk he will lose his best player in Yohan Cabaye, who is subject to a bid from Paris Saint-Germain.

Pardew has little control over transfers and will see the Cabaye situation as an unwanted distraction for his key man.

That was the case ahead of the opening trip of the season to Manchester City -- when United lost 4-0 -- and Cabaye effectively went on strike when suggesting he wasn't in the mood to take on the title contenders after interest from Arsenal turned his head.

Pardew will hope he can keep his troops motivated for this one as it is vital they go into Saturday's Tyne-Wear derby in the right mood. By then, we'll know for sure if Cabaye stays and whether Newcastle have managed to weather a storm at Carrow Road.

Victory for Pardew will put his side right back into the mix when it comes to the chase for the European places.

Defeat, and that much needed win for Hughton, piles on the agony for Pardew ahead of a game he knows he must win on Saturday against Sunderland.

Pardew has lost two Tyne-Wear derbies in a row as Newcastle boss and many feel that other managers would have been shown the door for that sequence and the near brush with relegation last term.

Certainly, Tuesday's clash at Carrow Road will be anything but dull.


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