By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Alan Pardew has challenged some of his Newcastle United squad to put themselves in the first team picture on a regular basis.
Thursday night sees the Magpies go head to head with Greek Super League side Atromitos in the first leg of their Europa League fourth qualifying round tie.
Pardew is expected to rest some of his more established names, given that they travel to Chelsea in Premier League action on Saturday afternoon, and the boss sees the Atromitos clash as a great opportunity for certain players.
"For us, this competition is something we want to proceed in, so we have to have a team and a gameplan that is going to get us through," he explained.
"For Atromitos, it is a big game for them. We are a big scalp for this team, we are under no illusions of that. And we have that much respect for the Club and the manager.
"But I think my squad is big enough and strong enough to cope. That's why we have 24 senior players - because they need to contribute.
"And it is a big game for some of our squad, to show they can threaten the first team. And I certainly hope to see that tomorrow night. It's a big test for some of our players."
Having finished fifth in the Premier League last season - a placing which handed Newcastle this chance to test themselves on the continent once again - Pardew is keen to illustrate just why the English game is so highly thought of.
"We must look at ourselves as ambassadors of the Premier League. We believe it is the strongest division in Europe," he said.
"We need to replicate that in terms of the performance we put out. So regardless of the (Atromitos') coach's surprises or experience, it is irrelevant.
"I just have to make sure my team is right and that's what I will focus on."
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