Football: Shearer senses victory

ALAN SHEARER, who will spearhead the Newcastle attack in the FA Cup final against Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday, gave his Player of the Year vote to the United striker Dwight Yorke.

Though he feels Newcastle have a good chance against United, Shearer is full of admiration for Yorke. "I think he's a tremendous player - not just a goalscorer. I admire him. Dwight works his socks off for the side and links up well with everyone," he said.

Shearer's verdict is a massive boost for Yorke, who lost out on the PFA Player Of The Year award to Tottenham's David Ginola. But the Newcastle man still believes his side can shock Yorke and his Old Trafford team- mates and end their bid for the unique treble of Premiership title, FA and European Cups.

Shearer is determined to avoid a repeat of the despair he felt when Newcastle were defeated against Arsenal in last year's Wembley final. "It hurt badly when I saw Tony Adams lift the Cup," Shearer said. "I was empty, drained and hurt. It's a feeling I don't want again."

He warned United that Ruud Gullit's team are in the mood to upset the pre-match odds. "We're going to Wembley to win and I have a sneaking feeling it might be our year," said Shearer. "Everybody expects Manchester United to do it, but that can work in our favour.

"They have proved they are the best in the League, but anything can happen on the day. The mood within the club is very good. There's a firm belief that we are going to win. We are certainly not just turning up to be beaten."

The words of the Old Trafford manager, Alex Ferguson, have already encouraged Shearer that it could be Newcastle's turn. "Alex says they are only human," he said. "They are capable of being beaten because they give you chances - whether you can take them is the key."

Steve Harper, the 24-year-old Newcastle goalkeeper who has made a late bid for a place in the starting line-up, could come face to face with his idol Peter Schmeichel.

"I wouldn't want to say anything against the likes of Peter Shilton or Gordon Banks and people like that, but the way the game has changed I don't think many people would dispute that he's the best there's ever been," Harper said of the Manchester United goalkeeper.