By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Alan Pardew has congratulated Swansea City on winning the Capital One Cup last weekend - but has set his sights on overtaking them in the Barclays Premier League, starting with three points at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
His friend Phil Parkinson was in charge of the Bradford side who were swept aside by the Swans at Wembley while on-loan Newcastle defender Curtis Good was part of the Bantams defence but nobody will applaud the achievements of Michael Laudrup and his men louder than the Magpies manager, who knows how hard it is for a club outside the top four to lift a major trophy.
Not only did they bring the cup back to Wales but they're currently ninth in the table, seven points ahead of United. And although it would be easy to take their eye off the ball as they celebrate their first big honour in what is their centenary year, Pardew does not expect that to happen.
However, he has challenged his in-form side to take advantage of any hangover which their opponents may suffer after a week of celebration and civic receptions, and try and close the gap on the top ten.
"Fair play to them - we haven't had a trophy here for a long, long time and we're desperate for one," he said.
"Swansea went and won that trophy and deserved every bit of it. Well played to the manager and the players.
"They're having a fabulous season and to win the cup was a real icing on the cake. But they've still got a big part of the season left and I'm sure Michael will be reminding them as much.
"It's a big game for us because we are more than competitive from where we were (a few weeks ago) - a much stronger team.
"I think we'd need to beat them to catch them, if I'm honest, so it's a good game for them. Probably if they don't lose to us it'll be difficult to catch them.
"But that's the way we should think - try and win there and get them in our sights. But it's easier said than done."
Last season, Newcastle won 2-0 at the Liberty Stadium despite the home side dominating possession but Swansea gained revenge at St. James' Park this term with a 2-1 victory in November.
"We had a massive win there last year and Papiss (Cisse) scored that wonder goal. Obviously he got one just last week so that bodes well.
"We're well prepared for this game, we know what's coming, and hopefully we can get the win.
"I think it's been well documented this week, the agenda that they've set from the board level down. The manager has been brought in to plau a certain way and they've got the benefits of that.
"It's something that we're trying to establish here - a style of play where we're not quite as total as Swansea but certainly we play some great football here. Hopefully we can continue that over the next few years."