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'Toon will carry flag for Premier'

ALAN PARDEW is happy to fly the flag for England as well as Newcastle as he targets Europa League glory.

The 51-year-old will attempt to guide the Magpies into the quarter-finals tonight as they look to finish the job they started by holding Anzhi Makhachkala to a 0-0 draw in Moscow last week.

Chelsea and Tottenham will also seek last-eight berths with the Premier League hoping to be well represented in the latter stages of the competition, and Pardew would be delighted to play his part in that.

He said: "If I am honest, that did get a mention the last time we played in this competition, saying we have a responsibility not just for Newcastle fans, but for the English Premier League.

"Yes, for sure, and why not carry that through as well? Whether we have got French players, Italian players, it doesn't matter, we represent the Premier League and we are proud to represent the Premier League. Yes, we will try to do that if we can."

Newcastle last reached the quarter-finals of the then UEFA Cup eight years ago under Graeme Souness having made the last four with Bobby Robson at the helm 12 months earlier.

Striker Shola Ameobi will have a late fitness test on the ankle problem he sustained in the first leg, but winger Hatem Ben Arfa, who returned from a 12-week injury lay-off with a torn hamstring in Moscow, is out after suffering another setback

Pardew said: "If I am honest, him missing it isn't going to make a great impact on this game because I think the team is in a good place and I think we can beat them without him."

No English side has lifted the trophy since Liverpool in 2000-01.

NEWCASTLE v ANZHI, LIVE SETANTA IRL (KO 8.05)


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