Souness attempts to shrug off Grimsby threat

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The Independent Football

The Newcastle United manager has been lifted by Sunday's derby victory over Sunderland but knows the fans will not be happy should their team fail to win the third round tie at Blundell Park.

But Souness took it all philosophically, saying yesterday: "That's the price on the ticket. It's only 25 October and yes, we have been dodgy lately. But I am not a muppet. I know the type of football I want us to play and we have not been able to play it because we have been without some of our most creative players."

One of those creative players, Kieron Dyer, is back in the Newcastle squad for the first time since the end of August because of groin and hamstring problems.

But two others, Emre (hamstring) and Scott Parker (dead leg), are doubtful and five more players - Michael Owen, Stephen Carr, Lee Bowyer, Steve Harper and Craig Moore - are already ruled out through injury.

Newcastle have often been on the wrong end of cup upsets against smaller clubs but Souness knows the Carling Cup provides one of his routes into Europe and he stressed that unlike some other Premiership managers he could not be taking the competition more seriously.

The Newcastle boss added: "This competition is important to us because if we can get through tomorrow night and then get a home tie we will be in business.

"However, Grimsby are doing well in their League and they will cause us problems. There is no doubt of that. But how we do will depend on how quickly we deal with those problems and we can get to play our own game.

One of the first players on the Newcastle team sheet tonight will be Peter Ramage after the young full-back's display on Sunday.

Souness said: "Obviously Ramage is not used to playing at left-back, but if we don't need him elsewhere that's where he will play at Grimsby tomorrow night. He is the type of guy you want to work with. He's keen to learn every day and he never knows when he is beaten.

"The ball smacked him in the face on Sunday and he didn't even blink. So with Steven Taylor we have two players like that now."

Sunday's derby was only the third start for the 21-year-old Geordie but Ramage said: "That was the pinnacle of my career so far but that's gone now. What I have got to do now is to stay in the team and hopefully I will play at Grimsby tomorrow night."

* Newcastle midfielder Scott Parker has won his appeal against the yellow card he received in Sunday's match against Sunderland. The 25-year-old was booked for a tackle on Andy Welsh in the first half of the 3-2 victory at St James' Park but claimed mistaken identity. The Football Association upheld his appeal and rescinded the yellow card, which was transferred to Parker's team-mate Stephen Carr. Carr will now serve a one-game ban with immediate effect.

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