ALAN Pardew played down the inconvenience caused to his Newcastle United squad by the wintry blast that hit the North East yesterday.
United sat on the tarmac for several hours and didn’t make it to France until late on Wednesday, hardly ideal preparation for the young players who were picked for the Europa League Group D decider. But the Newcastle boss said it was nothing to complain about.
He said: “We have had a long journey, but I have been in harsher situations. We are not too bad, we are okay.
“We can’t possibly use the delay as an excuse. Half of the north was stopped – the A1 was shot when we flew over it.
“We are okay, we are good to go. The (players) have had to be patient tonight on the plane and everything, but we weren’t in any hardship.
“We had a lovely flight, so we are all good.”
Neither squad for tonight’s game will be the strongest available, but Pardew – who said he needs to protect his team – defended his selection decision.
“I think he (Bordeaux coach Francis Gillot) realises that we’re going to play a side that isn’t our strongest. I think he’ll pick a team that he thinks is going to be good enough to win as well.
“There will be some good young players on show. Bigi, who played on Monday, will play. He’s obviously in good form and has good confidence from Monday night. Fergie (Shane Ferguson) and Sammy (Ameobi) will both play and they have good confidence from that win and I’ll be looking for good performances from them.
“So will Sylvain (Marveaux), who played very well. He will start as well.
“Obviously, we have got to protect ourselves for Monday night, which is an important game for us, but this has its own importance,” he said.
“We have got a very young side which is going to start, so we just hope we have got enough in that team to keep us in the game and then – obviously, the draw is no good for us – look to win it towards the end.”