It felt like the Europa League had moved up a notch in terms of its significance in the North-east yesterday. That could have been down to the bold admission from Alan Pardew that his side is aiming to win it, the arrival of more credible opposition in Bordeaux or the potential problems when Newcastle United head to Club Brugge early next month.
Estimated figures put the travelling support for that game at around 6,000. The end in the Jan Breydel Stadium they will be housed on 8 November holds 1,470, the application for which ended last night. Club officials are frustrated at the situation and would like more tickets to be allocated. That has so far not happened and as of this week Brugge have started selling tickets in an adjacent area to where Newcastle's fans will be for the game. It is a situation to be monitored.
Before then, Pardew has work to do. There is no question that the European bar has finally been raised with the visit tonight of Bordeaux, who defeated Brugge 4-0 in their opening Group D game last month.
Perhaps typically he first had to deny suggestions that Spurs had lined up Yohan Cabaye during the summer to replace Luka Modric, something that had arisen because of comments from the player during a recording by French television station Canal+.
"There was no offer from Spurs so he didn't get that opportunity but of course the likes of Yohan and others will be courted by top sides," said manager Pardew. "That's natural. What is important is the development of players and that they develop here and it is important we give them a platform for success. We are doing our best to do that and this competition is part of that and the only way to keep likes of Yohan, Cheick Tioté and Demba Ba is with success, which we will try to do and we revaluate our goals for next year. I don't need to send a message out. Since we have entered this competition, we have entered it to win it and this is a significant game to up the levels.
"The team has to be good enough to beat Bordeaux but I have Manchester United coming on Sunday and have to make sure the Premier League result is right too and it is difficult to produce a team to play at its maximum in two games. That is what we need to do because we will not beat Bordeaux and Man United if we are not at the maximum."
Either of those tasks has not been made easier by injuries to Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor and Tim Krul, with only the former likely to feature in either game, and that would be on Sunday.
Newcastle United (4-3-1-2) Elliott; Simpson, Perch, Williamson, Santon; Ben Arfa, Anita, Cabaye; Obertan; Cissé, Shola Ameobi.
Bordeaux (5-1-2-2) Carrasso; Mariano, Marange, Planus, Henrique, Tremoulinas; Sane; Obraniak, Saivet; Jussie, Diabete.
Referee A M Lahoz (Sp).
TV ESPN 8:05pm kick-off.
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