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Roeder targets last-eight spot.

Byline: By Alan Oliver

Glenn Roeder has set his sights on something as manager of Newcastle United he never achieved in the black-and-white shirt ( a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Victory over Southampton at St James' Park in tomorrow's fifth round tie would put United into the last eight of the competition and make it three wins out of three for the caretaker manager.

And Roeder told me today: "As a former player and skipper nobody needs to tell me what the FA Cup means to the Newcastle United fans.

"Yet while I played in an FA Cup final with Queens Park Rangers against Spurs in the 1980s and, incidentally, missed the replay because I was suspended, I never got further than the fifth round in my time as a player with United.

"I can only hope I have better luck as caretaker manager in the FA Cup than I did as a player.

"I can remember scoring an own goal which knocked us out in our fourth game with Watford, losing at home to Brighton and Hove Albion and going out at Spurs after Peter Jackson gave away the match-winning penalty.

"But the worst was in the fifth round in 1987-88 when we fancied our chances after drawing Wimbledon at home.

"Yet they won 3-1 when one of their goals went in off the back off our keeper Martin Thomas and they actually went on to win the competition, beating Liverpool in the final."

Everyone at United is fully aware that the FA Cup is the only chance of any silverware and the club's best chance of getting back into Europe next season.

That's why I believe Roeder will start off with the strongest side available to him tomorrow.

This will probably mean one change with the ever-reliable Robbie Elliott coming in at left back for the suspended Celestine Babayaro.

Roeder has no qualms at all about putting the 32-year-old Geordie in, saying: "Robbie came on in difficult circumstances at Villa Park last Saturday when we were down to 10 men and used all his vast experience to help us win.

"He got in some important tackles, good headers and his positional play was excellent and I am looking for him to carry this on tomorrow.

"But what I am not looking for him to do is bomb forward all the time like he used to but he has to stay and keep the back four together."

United have not lost a home FA Cup tie since Ian Woan scored the winner for Nottingham Forest at St James' Park in January 1997 ( a run of 17 unbeaten ties ( and Roeder has to be confident that the side which beat Aston Villa with Elliott in for Babayaro can keep this run going.

He has added Michael Chopra, Albert Luque and Amady Faye to his squad and has plenty of options when it comes to naming his substitutes.

Roeder said Luque has worked hard in training this week and while the Spaniard will not start tomorrow, he could just squeeze on to the bench and be given the chance to show what he can really do.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 17, 2006
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