Steve McClaren seeks end of Newcastle’s battle between Jekyll and Hyde
Steve McClaren is hoping Jekyll and not Hyde turns up on Sunday as Newcastle attempt to end their wait for a first Barclays Premier League victory of the season.
McClaren, who has seen his side flit between the impressive and the abysmal through the opening weeks of his reign, is desperate to claim a league win at the ninth attempt against Norwich to dissipate the growing unrest surrounding the club.
But he needs the kind of performance which secured a 0-0 draw at Manchester United or which resulted in a 2-0 lead over Chelsea rather than the one which saw them trounced 6-1 at Manchester City last time out if the rot is to be stopped.
McClaren said: “We need that belief, and that comes from performances, playing well, results. We have kind of had that – not the results. The players just need to focus on doing their job, making sure they fight for 95 minutes and give the crowd what they want.
“They want to see fight, they want to see attitude, they want to see good football. Give them that and generally – some things are out of your control, the result is – but generally if you get that, you win games.”
To date, Newcastle have collected a paltry three points and went into the weekend rooted to the foot of the table and in danger of being cast adrift.
Norwich arrive on Tyneside six points better off having made a decent fist of life back in the top flight.
McClaren said: “They’ve been very good, very good. It’s not surprised me at all that the three [promoted] teams have started quite well.
“They have got the buoyancy and the confidence of promotion, the nucleus of the squad stays, they add very well and they can be a handful at the start, which they are proving.
“I saw them [Norwich] against West Ham – they could have won that game, should have won that game, and Leicester, they shouldn’t have lost that game, so this is not going to be easy.”
McClaren has received a fitness boost ahead of Sunday’s Barclays Premier League clash with Norwich despite losing goalkeeper Tim Krul for the rest of the season.
Defenders Daryl Janmaat and Massadio Haidara (both knee) and Paul Dummett (hamstring), as well as midfielder Jack Colback (hamstring), have returned to training and are in contention as the Magpies attempt to secure their first league win of the season at the ninth attempt.
However, keepers Krul (cruciate ligament) and Karl Darlow (ankle), defenders Steven Taylor and Kevin Mbabu (both hamstring), midfielders Rolando Aarons (calf) and Gabriel Obertan (hamstring) and striker Emmanuel Riviere (knee) remain on the sidelines.
Norwich expect to have playmaker Wes Hoolahan available after shrugging off a heel problem while on international duty with the Republic of Ireland.
Striker Gary Hooper has stepped up his rehabilitation from an ankle injury, but is unlikely to feature this weekend.
Midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu has also returned to training this week following recovery from a fractured metatarsal, but will not be rushed into action.
Winger Matt Jarvis hopes Norwich can finally get a fortnight of frustration out of their system with victory on Sunday.
The Canaries were beaten 2-1 at home by Leicester before the international break, which was a first defeat in a promising run of four matches.
Jarvis, on loan from West Ham, admits not having another game to quickly try to put things right has made it a difficult spell for those left at the Norfolk club’s training base.
“As a group it wasn’t nice to lose before the international break as you have that feeling for two weeks,” Jarvis said.
“We have had time to reflect on Leicester and want to put things right now.”
Jarvis added: “We want to keep our away record going and have shown in games how well we can play.
“Everyone can see how good the team is, but you have to be consistent too.
“In every match this season we are looking to make a strong start to ensure the other team doesn’t pick up momentum, and Sunday is no different.”