‘The fans will be excited, the players will be excited’ – Newcastle ace expects tough game against Norwich City

Matt Ritchie in action for Newcastle during a 2-2 Championship draw at Norwich City in February 2017

Matt Ritchie in action for Newcastle during a 2-2 Championship draw at Norwich City in February 2017 Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Newcastle winger Matt Ritchie is expecting a ‘tough’ game against Norwich City, amid the excitement and optimism of a first home match since promotion to the Premier League.

The Scotland international was influential in both matches as the Magpies roared back from 3-1 down to beat City 4-3 at St James' Park and drew 2-2 at Carrow Road during 2016-17, as they won the Championship title under Rafa Benitez.

So the 29-year-old is aware of the challenge which awaits Steve Bruce's side on Saturday (3pm kick-off), as the hosts look to bounce back from a 4-1 loss at Liverpool and the visitors from a 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal.

"It's going to be a tough game," said Ritchie. "Obviously you know when teams come up from the Championship as we did a couple of years ago, especially the first home game, the fans will be excited, the players will be excited.

"They're obviously used to playing there and it's going to be a tough game but one that we're looking forward to as they all are in the Premier League - they're all tough - but we'll be ready and have a gameplan and hopefully we can carry it out."

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Ritchie is hoping to see more from Paraguayan playmaker Miguel Almiron, a £20m January signing, and Brazilian striker Joelinton, who was recently signed from Hoffenheim for a club-record fee reportedly worth around £40m - after they linked nicely during Sunday's loss to Arsenal.

"I thought Miguel and Joe were a real handful," he added, speaking to NUFC TV. "Miggy (Almiron) was fantastic throughout the whole game really. I'm sure that will excite everyone involved in the whole club so there's certainly positives to take.

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"I think defensively we were very solid, very sound, and it's just disappointing that the goal came from a bit of sloppy play from us rather than an outstanding play from Arsenal.

"So, yeah, disappointing but it's early days and we're going to build on hopefully what we've done today and don't get too down because there's another one on Saturday and we're looking forward to that and hopefully a good performance and three points."

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