Alan Pardew

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

With Manchester City trailing leaders Manchester United by 15 points and Newcastle currently 13th in the Barclays Premier League standings, neither team would appear on the face of it to have too much to play for at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

But Alan Pardew insists the season remains very much alive at both ends of the table and is refusing to accept that his side - who are six points clear of the bottom three - are safe just yet.

City were the only side to do the double over the Magpies last season and were impressive in a 3-1 win at St. James' Park in December, but United take on the reigning champions with even Blues boss Roberto Mancini admitting that the title race is "over."

Pardew, however, insisted: "He's probably said it to rile his players, I should think - to get a reaction out of them, to try and win the last eight and see where it leaves them.

"That's not a bad policy from him. We won't be fooled by it though. We know it's a difficult place to go. Last year it was our toughest away game, I make no bones about that, and we need to make sure it's a little bit easier this time around with a better performance from ourselves and I think that's the key.

"We've got a good side, we've performed well of late and we need to take that into this game.

"Every team in that bottom ten is not comfortable yet and we're all striving to get close to 40 points as quickly as we can. And that's our goal too.

"It's the business end now and for all of us there'll be extra tension on the game, extra emphasis from the media, and we all need to deal with that and be able to get your results.

He added: "Every game now is important for us, and momentum to take into the Europa League. We've got ourselves in a fantastic position in that Europa League and we've got to see it through.

"The second leg's at home, a full house, about nine or ten days away so we've got a lot to look forward to. But we've got to make sure in these Premier League games that we really are at our best."