Roeder sends warning to Newcastle defence
Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder has told his side they must cut out the defensive errors if they are to avoid another European embarrassment against Latvian league leaders Ventspils tonight.
Backline blunders were a major reason why the Magpies failed even to reach the UEFA Cup last season as they crashed out in the Intertoto semi-final to Deportivo La Coruna.
This time Roeder's men have reached the second qualifying round stage - via the Intertoto Cup - but know they can ill afford a repeat of their two most recent pre-season games, in which they have conceded six.
Roeder said: 'The mistakes that have been made in those two games can be ironed out as they are mistakes lads of this quality should not be making.
'Maybe with them being friendlies we were a little too relaxed when defending and we left Shay Given exposed but we have got those games out of the way now and hopefully those mistakes will be eradicated.'
Damien Duff is set to be handed his first Magpies start since his £5million move from Chelsea while Nicky Butt could also be in line for a surprise recall after his double in the last friendly against Villarreal.
With no other injury concerns, Roeder's main decision is whether to include want-away pair Jean Alain Boumsong and Albert Luque - knowing inclusion could make them ineligible for future employers in Europe.
Success in the transfer market remains imperative for Roeder, who is targeting at least one big-name striker as well as defensive steel in the shape of Chelsea and England full-back Wayne Bridge.
Thomas Gravesen and Obafemi Martins have been linked as has Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt, whom Roeder watched in last weekend's Amsterdam friendly between his club Feyenoord and Middlesbrough.
Roeder said: 'I have no reason to remove him from my list. He played well and I didn't see any reason why we should not go and watch him again.'
But according to Magpies keeper Given, defeat to Ventspils at the Skonto stadium in Riga tonight could severely jeopardise their chances of attracting such star quality.
Given said: 'Top players want to play in Europe. We know we need to build the squad with new players, so hopefully if we get into the UEFA Cup proper, then ew players will want to come.'