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Barca attack picking up steam

Barcelona 5 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Aug 10, 2007

Allardyce: Magpies revival starts in Bolton

Sam Allardyce has warned that turning around Newcastle's ailing fortunes will take time - but he is convinced Saturday's return to his former club provides the ideal chance to make a crucial early impression.

Allardyce insists that games will not come much bigger all season than Saturday's Premier League kick-off at Bolton, where he masterminded five consecutive wins over the Magpies stretching back to 2001.

Takeover talk and injury issues have over-shadowed Allardyce's first three months in the St James' Park job and he can appreciate the value a fine start would have on morale throughout the club.

Allardyce said: 'It could be as big a result as we will get all season if we can win. It would be a major start to the season based on me getting in here and trying to change things around.

'Five consecutive defeats have got to stop on Saturday if we are going to achieve more than we did over the last two or three years.

'I have got to buy myself time like every manager does by producing enough results so that criticism does not fall my way like it has done for previous managers.

'The support I have had from the fans and the new board has increased so hopefully we will get to the level this club demands.

'It might not be in the first few months or even the first season, but we will get there.'

Allardyce is adamant that he will be able to keep emotions in check upon his return to a club with whom he is credited with almost single-handedly turning into a Premier League force.

He added: 'I have to stay away from the emotional side. If I feel anything hopefully it will be because we've won. I have a great insight into Bolton and I will give my players everything I can to give them a result.'

Allardyce's hopes of getting off to a good start have been hampered by injury problems, with six big-name stars, most recently goalkeeper Shay Given, starting the season on the sidelines.

Michael Owen, Damien Duff, Joey Barton, Emre and Celestine Babayaro are also definitely out, while the game may have come too soon for new boys Claudio Cacapa and Jose Enrique.

Czech defender David Rozehnal is likely to make his debut alongside Geremi, Mark Viduka and Alan Smith, but Allardyce will have some words of warning for a player who has impressed in pre-season.

Allardyce said: 'David is an experienced central defender but until you do get in there and you do experience it, you will find it very, very difficult I think.

'Certainly in the early stages until things settle down because this is the most competitive and physical league in the world as well as the most skilful. Coping with that means you have to learn very, very quickly.'

Kieron Dyer is also expected to figure in Allardyce's first squad after returning to training following the collapse of his move to West Ham. Dyer is now expected to stay with the club in the absence of any new offers.

'He's a Newcastle player and there's been no move from West Ham and no other interest from any other club at the moment concerning taking him away from Newcastle,' Allardyce confirmed.