Steve Harper

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter


If Alan Pardew needs a scouting report compiled on FA Cup fourth round opponents Brighton, he could do a lot worse than looking at the first name on his squad list.

Goalkeeper Steve Harper spent a month on loan with the Seagulls earlier in the season, making five appearances for the south coast-based Championship club.

United travel to the Amex Stadium later this month hoping to net themselves a place in the fifth round of the famous cup competition, but Harper knows from first hand experience that it will be no easy ride against an excellent footballing side.

And when asked what Newcastle could expect from Brighton, the man who wears shirt number one simply told "Total football, to be honest.

"They play football, they like to play out from the back and Gus Poyet is a very impressive, young manager.

"They have got some good players too. Gordon Greer the captain, and Lewis Dunk are a great centre-half partnership and two excellent players. Add to that Liam Bridcutt in the holding midfield role and that triangle is the strength of the team.

"There are some young lads too who have managed to break in and around the first team, and things are looking good for Brighton.

"It won't be an easy game. It will be a tough one in front of a full house and a fantastic crowd who will get behind them.

"It's a fantastic stadium, a good surface, a lovely family club and a nice place. I would urge as many fans as possible to go down. It is a good draw for us, but a tough draw."

Harper was a keen armchair fan on Wednesday night as Brighton booked their tie against the Magpies, thanks to a penalty shoot-out replay victory over non-league Wrexham.

And the 36-year-old is hoping to be part of the Newcastle party which travels down to Sussex in just over a week's time.

"I watched the second half, extra-time and the penalties, and it was great for them to get through," he said.

"I was delighted for (Brighton keeper) Peter Brezovan to save a penalty. When I went down there he was third choice and part of me being down there was to help Peter and Casper (Ankergren).

"I'm not training at the minute as my knee has puffed up a little bit. I will be back in training a day or two before that game, so it might come a little bit soon for me.

"But I will help the manager and the lads with their preparations before the game.  Hopefully I will get to make the trip, go down, watch the game, and hopefully see us progress."