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Byline: By Alan Oliver

Sir Bobby Robson is desperate for Newcastle United to see off FC Basel tonight - so that he can bring more top players to St James' Park in January.

It has not been lost on Robson that, on the day Leeds United striker Alan Smith could be available for as little as pounds 2 million if the Yorkshire outfit goes into administration, Newcastle have the chance to fill their coffers and also go into the third round of the UEFA Cup.

As Robson prepared for the UEFA Cup second round, second leg tie, he said today: "We are very much aware of what it means to this football club to go through tonight.

"If we are still in the competition tomorrow, several things will be going round in my head.

"One would concern any new players. There is no doubt that, when it comes to top players, if they have a choice of clubs, then they will go to the one which seems to be going in the right direction. There's no doubt about that.

"My chairman does not interfere here but I know how much it means to him to win tonight's game and still be involved in Europe at the turn of the year."

Last season United were still going strong in Europe until the middle of March, when their magnificent Champions League campaign finally came to an end.

If United do come through tonight, their third-round ties will be played on February 26 and March 3, which would be superb for the Toon Army.

Sir Bobby added: "We owe the fans success at this club because of the way they support us and put money into the club.

"Obviously we were disappointed to go out of the Champions League. But don't forget that this is still the second biggest club competition in Europe.

"If we do win tonight, then it is going to get harder, with the third-placed teams from the
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 27, 2003
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