Parker targets Cup bonanza

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The Independent Online

First the Intertoto Cup, next the Carling Cup. Scott Parker is determined to make Roxy Music fan Alan Shearer something of a jealous guy. Shearer spent a fruitless decade attempting to secure silverware for Newcastle United before his retirement last season, so the irony is not lost on his successor, who could lift two trophies in three days early next year.

Parker will receive the Intertoto Cup before the next Uefa Cup home tie in February, which falls just 72 hours before the Carling Cup final which Newcastle can book their place in with just two victories, starting at home to Chelsea in tonight's fifth-round tie at St James' Park.

"It'd be a great irony if we won something with me as captain after Alan was here for so long and didn't manage it," said Parker, who makes his first start in almost a month after recovering from a rib muscle injury. I'd probably get a naughty text from him about it."

Chelsea are the only team to beat Newcastle in the nine games since Parker's late equaliser and subsequent victory on penalties at Watford in the last round, a result which heralded an upturn in fortunes and stretched the club's unbeaten sequence in knockout competitions this season to 12 games.

"That was probably the most important goal of my Newcastle career," Parker added. "Two months ago we were down there struggling and you couldn't see a result coming, but we've put some results back to back to get a bit of breathing space."

Injury denied Parker a role in Chelsea's Carling Cup winning side of two seasons ago, after the midfielder played a prominent role in the previous rounds, but the 26-year-old is bullish over his chances of erasing that disappointment by helping Newcastle end their half-century wait for a major domestic trophy.

The England international added: "The fans are crying out for silverware and we can definitely win the competition. We'll have a full house behind us, we've been playing well in the cups and our recent performances have given us great confidence.

"If you're going to win the competition you're going to have to play the big boys. If we do get a result it'll give us great confidence to think we can go and win it."

Nolberto Solano hopes to make a comeback from a groin problem to fill in at left-back for the suspended Celestine Babayaro.

Damien Duff is unlikely to face his former club after suffering a reaction following his return from knee surgery, while Emre is doubtful thanks to an ankle injury.

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