Fulham manager Chris Coleman has piled more pressure on under-fire Newcastle boss Graeme Souness by claiming this weekend’s match is all about the Tyneside club.
Souness spent big in the transfer market last summer with the arrivals of Michael Owen, Scott Parker, Emre and Albert Luque.
But poor league form and an early exit from the League Cup has put the former Liverpool midfielder’s position in the spotlight, and Coleman insists media attention will centre on the big Scot.
“If we beat Newcastle it will all be about what happens next for them and without doubt there will be more pressure on Newcastle than on us,” Coleman said.
“Newcastle is a massive club, 50,000 fans every home game and they’ve spent £50million.
“They have lost a lot of good players through injury. Graeme has been under a lot of speculation and is facing a little bit of pressure.”
Victory at Craven Cottage would see the Cottagers leapfrog Newcastle in the table and record back-to-back Premiership victories for the first time in 21 matches.
And, following Saturday’s disappointing FA Cup exit at the hands of League Two Leyton Orient, Coleman insists his side are itching to set the record straight.
He added: “This is massive for us, simple as that – we’ve got to beat Newcastle.
“We need to beat Newcastle and that’s not piling any extra pressure on my players, they look at the table and they know that.
“We are three points away from the top 10 and six points away from the bottom three.
“A big win on Saturday would see us on the same points as Newcastle and maybe go above Charlton and Aston Villa.
“To be fair to Graeme his squad is crippled with injury. But we haven’t got a full squad either and some of my lads who will play won’t be fully fit. But because we haven’t got a big squad we haven’t got a choice.
“Of course we’d rather play a Newcastle side without Owen and Parker but they’ll still come and be a threat.
“They will be happy that a few of the lads out there won’t be 100%. Steed Malbranque, for example could be back but he won’t last 90 minutes.”
Fulham will, however, be strengthened by the additions of former Southampton goalkeeper Antti Niemi and New Zealand international midfielder Simon Elliott.
And Coleman was quick to point out his January shopping was far from over. “We are strongly in for a couple more players,” he added.
“Whether it happens I don’t know. I can’t promise but what I can promise fans is the chairman and the board of directors have made money available for us to invest and I’m excited about that.”