By Dan King
Peter Beardsley is hoping Newcastle fans will turn out in force to support his Reserve team when they face Blyth in the final of the Sage Northumberland FA Senior Cup on Wednesday night.
The game will be played at St. James' Park as The Magpies look to claim the trophy for a record 32nd time in the competition's 126-year history, and will be the last second-string fixture of the campaign.
Beardsley's boys have played at Gallowgate twice this season, with 3,700 turning out to see them play Chelsea in September and 2,462 seeing the 2-1 win over Arsenal, and those who made the effort were treated to thrilling affairs on both occasions.
United have reached this stage after 2-0 wins over Bedlington Terriers and Ashington, and club legend Beardsley believes a good crowd will help his team go all the way.
"Playing in front of a big crowd really does make a difference, so the more the merrier," he said. "It's a great experience for the lads to play at St. James', and it's the same for Blyth, but it'll be even better if there are plenty of fans there.
"So it would be great to see as many supporters as possible in the ground."
Blyth, who play in the Blue Square North, are bidding to win the trophy for the first time since 1994, and include former Magpies prospect Paul Brayson. Admission is £5 for adults and £2 concessions. Admission is by paying on the East Stand turnstiles and extra time and penalties will decide the game if necessary, like it was when the two sides met in the final in 2008.
Phil Airey will spearhead the United attack and is surprisingly seeking his first goal in this competition, having got 11 in 13 league starts this term, while Sammy Ameobi is likely to start having been involved with the senior squad at the weekend.
Greg McDermott was also once again in Alan Pardew's thoughts against Birmingham, having travelled with the squad to Blackpool last week. He slotted in at centre-back in the semi-final win over Ashington but is set to return to his favoured midfield role on Wednesday.
Shane Ferguson, Ryan Donaldson and James Tavernier were on the bench against Birmingham while midfielders Brad Inman and Michael Richardson were on the scoresheet against Ashington in the last round.
Ole Soderberg is yet to concede a goal in the cup run. Jak Alnwick will be on the bench, while fellow Academy teenagers Michael Riley, Alex Nicholson, Patrick Nzuzi, Michael Hoganson, Dan Taylor and Remie Streete have been selected by Beardsley.
Long-term injured pair Kazenga LuaLua and Yven Moyo are both included in the squad, having been sidelined since November and December respectively, although neither are likely to play having only just returned to training.
Newcastle will wear their blue change kit due to the Northumberland FA rules stipulating that the home side must change their strip in the event of any clash.
The squad is: Ole Soderberg, Jak Alnwick, James Tavernier, Alex Nicholson, Michael Riley, Patrick Nzuzi, Matty Grieve, Jeff Henderson, Remie Streete, Michael Hoganson, Brad Inman, Michael Richardson, Patrick McLaughlin, Shane Ferguson, Greg McDermott, Joan Edmundsson, Kazenga LuaLua, Yven Moyo, Ryan Donaldson, Sammy Ameobi, Phil Airey, Dan Taylor.