Duff demands response
Damien Duff has called on his Newcastle team-mates to use the memory of their 6-0 rout at Old Trafford as inspiration.
By Rob Parrish
Last Updated: 18/02/08 3:43pm
Damien Duff has called on his Newcastle team-mates to use the memory of their 6-0 rout at Old Trafford as inspiration for when they face Manchester United this weekend.
The Magpies were on the wrong end of a serious drubbing in their first match following the departure of Sam Allardyce last month.
With the Premier League champions heading to St James' Park for the return fixture on Saturday evening, Duff insists the Toon Army can expect a much-improved performance.
The appointment of Kevin Keegan gave everyone connected with the North East club a lift, although he is yet to taste victory after five games at the helm.
Republic of Ireland international winger Duff has revealed how the Magpies boss has been pushing his players in training after their 4-1 capitulation at Aston Villa last time out.
He told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle: "We haven't forgotten what happened when we played them away.
"We went in at 0-0 at Old Trafford at half-time, which isn't a bad achievement for most teams. But we know what happened after that. We have had a good two weeks to work on things and produce some quality.
"It has been hard work - we have been pushed all the way by the gaffer."
Duff believes the experience of full-back Stephen Carr could be vital as the Magpies battle to stay out of the drop zone.
He added: "Stephen has been great. He only has until the summer until his contract expires, but as a friend and a player I'd love him to stay.
"I know he's had his injury problems at Newcastle, like I have, but he is a great person to have around and most of the players would agree with that. He has the experience we need at the moment."
Meanwhile, Steve Harper is ready to step into the firing line against United for his 100th appearance for the club.
The goalkeeper, who has been at St James' since 1993, stepped off the bench at Villa Park after Shay Given sustained a groin injury which he is still battling to overcome.
Harper said: "If required and it's me who is selected against Man United it would be great.
"I will be doing everything possible to stay in the team. But that is something that anybody would expect. We've got to show a response."