City out to spoil 'trailblazer' Howe's home bow
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Eddie Howe is a ‘trailblazer’ for Dean Smith but the Norwich City boss is out to spoil his Newcastle United homecoming on Tuesday night.
New head coach Howe will take charge of his first game at St James’ Park after a 2-0 away defeat at Arsenal on Saturday left the Magpies still without a Premier League win this season.
Smith has picked up four points from his opening two games at Norwich, to move three points clear of their rivals, but the City chief is playing down what is at stake.
“For me, it's the next game. And whatever nerves or anxieties you feel, or confidence, is pretty much the same. We're looking forward to it. It's a challenge, but it's an opportunity,” said Smith, speaking at Colney on Monday. “With the performance levels in the first two games, we're looking forward to it, that's for sure.
The players understand the size of this game. But it’s only as big as the last game against Wolves. If we haven't got the four points from the last two games, we're below Newcastle in the table.
"I know it's an old cliche, but we have to take each game as it comes.
“We’re going to a team who have a new manager in Eddie, who I've got so much respect for. It's going to be a tough place to go because they are a real partisan crowd. We have to go and quieten them down.
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“You know, he's a very good coach, I've got an awful lot of respect for him. I think he was the trailblazer for young English managers when he got Bournemouth into the Premier League.
"And he was someone that we could all look up to. We’ve had some really big challenges against his sides.
“They've got some continuity, because Graham Jones is obviously still there as well. We've had them watched, and I played Newcastle this season already at Aston Villa, so we know an awful lot of their players.
NCFC Extra: Team news Newcastle United v Norwich City
"There's not an awful lot that could goes under the radar now with the coverage of the Premier League. They've got some really good ball carriers in (Allan) Saint-Maximin. They've got players like Callum Wilson, who can get in behind and score goals, so we have to be aware of that threat.
“I want us to play to our strengths. We've got good footballers. We wanted to become tougher to beat. The fact Tim (Krul's) not had an awful lot to do on Saturday shows that we can be hard to beat, but also do enough to create chances.
“Our strengths are we are a good football team. The things that we've had to work harder are being a tough team to beat and win the ball back a little bit higher.”