Jonathan Woodgate believes Newcastle United FC have "a good chance of going all the way" in the UEFA Cup this season, a feat which would see the English side end a trophy drought stretching 35 years.
Speaking confidently ahead of Thursday's fourth round second-leg match at RCD Mallorca, the English international defender said: "I know Newcastle fans and players have been saying this for years, but we want to win something and I think we can win this one."
Sir Bobby Robson's men are on the cusp of the quarter-finals after winning the first leg 4-1 at Saint James' Park with a stunning second-half display of attacking football. Mallorca took the lead through Alejandro Campano, only for Newcastle, whose last trophy was the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, to storm back with goals from Craig Bellamy, Alan Shearer, Laurent Robert and Titus Bramble.
Progress looks a tall order for Mallorca as they must score at least three times; a task which takes on forlorn status when suspensions to midfielder Gonzalo Colsa and defenders David Cortés and Eduardo Moya are considered. Woodgate, though, refuses to be complacent. "When we go out, the players have to be in the right frame of mind and we have to be looking to win the game," he said.
"We know if we concede three goals, we could be out, and that would be a catastrophe. They've got experienced players and it's going to be tough.
They will be no pushovers. We've got to pretend it's 0-0 at the start," added Woodgate, who will be vital according to his manager. "There's no doubt I would place him as our first-choice centre-half," said Sir Bobby.
There will be some disruption to Sir Bobby's defensive unit, however, as Aaron Hughes is ruled out with a calf injury. Andy O'Brien is expected to move to right-back, with Bramble occupying the berth alongside Woodgate. Bellamy is unlikely to recover from a hamstring injury, meaning Shola Ameobi should start with Shearer.
Out for the season
Mallorca have defensive problems of their own, with the experienced pair of Javier Olaizola and Miguel Nadal ruled out for the season and three weeks respectively through injury. Coach Luis Aragonés did his best to sound a rallying cry, with a tie against AJ Auxerre or PSV Eindhoven the reward for a huge upset.
"If we want to secure a place in the next round, then it is crucial that we score as soon as possible and have some kind of cushion before half-time," he said. "
Our aim is to attack right from the start and try and win the match, we are determined to take the tie."
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