Alan Pardew

By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor

Alan Pardew believes that a "great game" is in store when Newcastle take on his old club Southampton on Saturday.

The Magpies boss, who celebrated his third year in charge at St. James' Park this week, was in the Saints hotseat between 2009 and 2010 and won the Johnstone's Paint Trophy before being surprisingly sacked five months later.

And while his current side are the most in-form team in the country, Mauricio Pochettino's outfit have also gained many plaudits for the way they've started the season.

"I think we're a very hard-working side with talent, and Southampton are like that, and I think it's got huge significance on the result on Saturday that these two teams are going to collide in a real hard-working way," Pardew said.

"And therefore it's going to make for a great game, I think; both sides set up to attack and both pretty solid when they do attack.

"Southampton have only conceded 19 goals or something, which is a great achievement in terms of the way they are on the front foot and press you. We're very similar and I think it'll make for a cracking game."

After beating Manchester United last weekend, every fixture is a big one as the Magpies look to continue their charge up the Barclays Premier League table.

But when asked if the meeting with his old club carries extra spice on a personal level, Pardew admitted: "Yeah, it does. I felt an injustice to lose my job there but I'm not the first manager to say that.

"I'm certainly looking forward to seeing some of my old players who have done absolutely brilliant: (Jose) Fonte, (Rickie) Lambert, (Adam) Lallana, (Morgan) Schneiderlin were all there in the first division (League One) with me. I loved working with them and I'm looking forward to seeing them.

"I'm over the moon that they've got international recognition, Lambert and Lallana, and that side of it I'll look forward to seeing - but certainly on a personal level it's a game I really want to win.

"I always thought that particularly Lambert and Lallana would have a really great chance of Premiership and maybe international careers, although I did actually think it was probably too late for Rickie to go that far so he's proved me wrong on that front.

"I think the biggest improved player there will probably be missing on Saturday and that's Schneiderlin. He wasn't quite as good as that when I was there but he's made himself a terrific player.

"I was only there a year or whatever, maybe a bit longer. It's a great club, they have a great tradition of playing football in the right manner, but this new manager has done a good job and taken them to a real high-pressing game without losing that formula.

"All the managers that have been there since me - Nigel Adkins included - have done a terrific job.

"They've had some tough fixtures but they've really coducted themselves well in those fixtures (although) they could have had better results.

"I think he (Pochettino) is handling the situation very well because this is probably the only 'down time' that he's had since he's been there and that's a tribute to him for what he's done there."