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By ESPN Staff

Shepherd demands top-six finish from Roeder

Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd has handed new boss Glenn Roeder the same challenge which ultimately finished predecessor Graeme Souness.

Roeder was yesterday unveiled as Shepherd's fourth managerial appointment and told the requirement for next season is a top-six finish in the Barclays Premiership.

Newcastle came within one place of achieving that this season, with Roeder leading a stunning revival after taking over from Souness with 15 games to play.

He and Shepherd will sit down over the next couple of days to discuss their targets and those players who will be offloaded, but Shepherd has seen enough to believe he has got the right man.

Asked what had persuaded him to opt for Roeder, Shepherd said: 'Results. Results are everything for a manager in football, they live or die by them.

'Let's make this quite clear, Glenn has had more injuries than Graeme ever had if you look at the stats.

'But he's had a great run and I'm confident he can maintain that.

'It's got to be top-six for Newcastle, the players we have got here, the set-up we have got here, the stadium, the training - all the ingredients are here.

'We expect not just Glenn, but any manager, to achieve that with the wages we pay here.

'They are paid Rolls Royce wages and we expect Rolls Royce performances from them.'

Roeder's minor miracle at St James' Park has handed him the chance to rekindle a career which looked to have been ended by the brain tumour which left him fighting for his life three years ago this week.

He was Newcastle's academy manager when he was asked to step in following Souness' departure, but insists he never thought his days in senior football were over.

'Privately, I didn't think my days were over at all,' said Roeder.

'Probably publicly, I suppose, I didn't give people lots of encouragement that I would manage again.

'But privately, it has always burned inside me that I wanted to manage - but not just manage, that's not enough, to manage successfully.'

Whether he achieves that on Tyneside during the two years of his contract and perhaps beyond could depend largely on how well he re-shapes the squad he has inherited, although he is happy with the launch-pad he has.

'As a starting-off base, the squad is very good,' he said.

'What is important - and this is one thing no manager can legislate for - is the injury situation during any season.

'Our squad, if everyone is fully fit, is easily capable of being in the top six next year, and who knows, with a little bit more luck, of finishing even higher.

'When I sit down with the chairman and discuss things, I'm sure he would like some fresh blood to come into the club. But we would also have to lose some players, probably.

'For me, these are just very, very exciting times. In the darkest days over the last few years, this is something privately I have been working towards.'