MALLORCA FLY OUT TO NEWCASTLEBy Humphrey Carter
REAL Mallorca will land in Newcastle later this morning ahead of tomorrow night's UEFA Cup quarter final clash against Newcastle United.
Mallorca took off with all the side's 18 available players while Newcastle coach Sir Bobby revealed yesterday that striker Bellamy has a 50 percent chance of making a comeback from injury and partnering Alan Shearer up front. The city of Newcastle is throbbing ahead of tomorrow's clash and Mallorca can expect to play in front of a packed house at St James's park, which according to the club, will not include any official Real Mallorca fans. The Toon Army faithful are already fighting for flights to Palma for the second leg, flight prices in Newcastle have shot up from £12.99 the day before last Friday's quarter final draw to £250 and the Majorcan authorities are set to classify the clash a high risk game with maximum policing as thousands of Newcastle fans will be coming to Palma. In the meantime, should Bellamy not be fit, Ameobi is likely to play alongside Shearer in attack as Newcastle go in search of their first European trophy since 1969, when they won the first of what was to become the UEFA Cup. Robson won the cup in 1981 with Ipswich.
Newcastle United football correspondent Damian Spellmen said yesterday that Robson picked up some helpful tips when he watched Mallorca crash to defeat at Barcelona last week and has singled out Eto'o as Mallorca's dangerman. Providing Newcastle play well, I can't see them having a problem. When they play well, they're a formidable side and can match the best in Europe. They've shown that against the likes of Milan and Barcelona over the past few seasons, but if they have a bad game, anything can happen, he said.
But breaching the Newcastle defence is going to be tough for Mallorca.
They have not lost in all competitions in the last 20 games, although they have been forced to settle with draws after allowing the opposition to sneak costly late equalisers. What is more, no side has scored more than a goal against them since Chelsea put five past them last November, a defensive record Mallorca would give their right arms for this season. Mallorca take off with talk of relegation ringing in everyone's ears. If you think we're going down, I'm off, coach Luis Aragones said yesterday.
Mallorca are just two points off the drop zone, but Aragones is determined the club will remain in the top flight. We're not going to be relegated, I've been in this game a long time, I should know, he said.
He also knows from experience that Newcastle play tough and direct football. They're a demanding team and are doing well in the league but providing we play at the best of our game, or perhaps even a little better, we should be all right, he said. Two key players staying in Palma are left back Poli and Dutch striker Arnold Bruggink who are both injured.
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