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Apr 27, 2009

Hart not worried about Shearer factor at St James'

Portsmouth boss Paul Hart has insistsed his players will not feel the "Alan Shearer factor'' when they visit St James' Park for Monday night's Premier League clash.

Hart, in charge on an interim basis until the end of the season, kinows that victory in the north east will all but assure his side of another season in the top flight.

Newcastle, on the other hand, know anything less than a win for themselves will put their future in serious doubt having pinpointed their three remaining home games as winnable fixtures.

The Magpies are still four points adrift of Hull City in the last safety spot and the pressure is on to get results. Newcastle are hoping the sight of Alan Shearer on the touchline will inspire players and fans alike, although they have picked up just one point out of a possible nine under their all-time record goalscorer.

Hart said: "Alan was a great player and he's a great man. And I'm sure he will be a great manager if he wants to be.

"But as Cloughie (Brian Clough) once told me at Nottingham Forest, no manager, however good, has actually ever won a football match. It is players who do that, players who make a team play. It is all about players.''

Hart, 55, who played under Clough at Forest for three years from March 1983 and later went on to manage the club himself, said: "I don't give myself any pats on the back for what we've achieved at Portsmouth over the last few months.

"It is down to the players and the way they have responded to what myself and (coach) Brian Kidd have put in place - a basic pattern of play to stop us shipping goals like we had been.

"Newcastle have a fantastic squad. We'll be playing against the likes of Michael Owen, (Obafemi) Martins and maybe Mark Viduka if he still back fit. That's enough to ensure we try to keep our feet on the pedals.

"It seems Alan Shearer was brought back to give them more incentive but they don't need any extra incentive than to stay in the Premier League.

"It is the same with us here. What we've done is make ourselves very hard to beat and we must take that attitude to Newcastle. I've heard people saying certain teams are too good to go down but in the end it is only points which will tell you that.

"I simply don't know how many points we will need. Who does? All I'll say is that we'll keep on scrapping to get as many points as we can regardless of whether or not we stay in this division.

"Newcastle, supposedly have got to win their three remaining home games to give themselves a chance (of staying up) but we still need points, too, and we'll try to make it very difficult for them.''

Hart is confident of another happy Pompey night - he has already won three and drawn four of his nine games in charge since succeeding sacked Tony Adams - and a return to winning ways after a gallant 2-0 defeat at Manchester United in midweek.

He said: "The players showed in that Old Trafford game, as much as any of the previous ones, that they have what it takes to be very hard to beat. We could have caved in and got the same kind of result as Spurs did there (beaten 5-2) on Saturday.

David Nugent has been passed fit for selection after limping out of the Manchester United game at half-time with a "dead leg'' but there is still a doubt over defender Younes Kaboul who missed that match with a thigh injury while midfielder Niko Kranjcar (ankle) has again been ruled out.

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