Pardew wants to build on good start

PA Sport

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has set his players the target of returning from Chelsea with something to show for their efforts to cap a good first week of the season.

The fixture schedule has been less than kind to the Magpies, handing them a trip to Greece for Thursday night's Europa League play-off clash with Atromitos in between tough Barclays Premier League fixtures against Tottenham and the Champions League winners.

However, they emerged from the Spurs game on the opening day of the campaign with three points and secured a 1-1 draw in Athens, and Pardew said: "We are looking at it as an opportunity for us to build on this first three or four days, which have been terrific. We have got a terrific mood in the camp already, the spirit is really good. Yes, we are only two games in, but so far, so good."

Pardew made wholesale changes in Greece in an effort to keep his key men fit and fresh for the game in south-west London, which will kick off less than 48 hours after the final whistle at the Peristeri Stadium.

Only James Perch and Papiss Cisse retained their places in the starting XI, and the manager will hope to restore as many of his big guns as possible for an entirely different challenge.

Skipper Fabricio Coloccini and striker Demba Ba are expected to recover from thigh and shin problems respectively, although midfielder Cheick Tiote's calf problem is more of a concern.

Newcastle famously won 2-0 at Chelsea in May as Cisse produced two finishes of stunning quality to snatch three points, and while Roberto Di Matteo has since strengthened his squad with big-money acquisitions Eden Hazard and Oscar, Pardew is confident that the Magpies can make an impression once again.

He said: "They won the Champions League, and they have improved since then - Hazard looks a great buy. We know him well, so we know what to expect from him.

"There are no surprises in that team, but I think in some ways, we can match them and give a good showing there."

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