By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Alan Pardew has admitted that Newcastle's round of 32 Europa League tie against Metalist Kharkiv will be challenging both on and off the pitch, but insists that both legs are games to look forward to.
After hosting the first match at St. James' Park on Valentine's Day next year, United face a rather less romantic 4,000-mile round-trip to the Ukraine for the second fixture and Pardew knows that will be difficult for his team and their fans.
The Magpies boss has seen several players sidelined with injury this season and other events transpire against his team - the latest being the postponement of the Arsenal v West Ham fixture three days before Newcastle head to the Emirates.
But Pardew is staying positive about the tie and the season in general, and said: "It's a tough draw in terms of the travel.
"The opposition, I know very little about. I can't even even comment on that until such time as we do some studying. I do know it's a long journey and they won the group so it's a tough agenda for us. But obviously it's some way ahead and we're looking forward to it.
"We keep cursing our luck in terms of this and that, but actually we're probably having one of those years when you just have to accept it, drill through it and play through it and that's what we're going to do.
"The Arsenal game has been cancelled in midweek, that gives them an extra rest: okay, just another one, let's just get on with it.
"It didn't surprise me but I'll look forward to it when it comes."