Ruel Fox

By Dan Sheridan - Newcastle United Managing Editor

Ex-Newcastle and Norwich winger Ruel Fox can see goals on the horizon as his former clubs go head-to-head this weekend, but expects United to come out on top on Sunday afternoon.

The 44-year-old, who now runs his own fitness boot-camp business in his hometown Ipswich, spent eight years with the Canaries, and starred in their famous UEFA Cup campaign during 1993/94 that saw them defeat Bayern Munich.

Fox then switched to Tyneside that same season, and became an important member of Kevin Keegan's Entertainers, making 70 appearances for the Magpies during a 20-month stay.

With experience of playing in front of the Geordie masses, the former England B international insists the Toon will have the edge as they look to strengthen their grip on sixth place in the Barclays Premier League.

But having watched Norwich closely during their first season back in the top flight, Fox is predicting an absorbing encounter that could see goals flying in at both ends of the pitch.

"I'm expecting a really open game," he says. "Norwich have already played some of the bigger teams in the Premier League and done very well, so they won't go into the match with any fear.

"There'll be a few of their players who haven't played at Newcastle before, but that won't affect them. They play with an openness that is refreshing and both sides are quite similar in that way.

"I know what it's like to play up there and once you get your momentum going and the crowd get behind you, it can be very difficult for the opposition. But that won't deter Norwich.

"It would be easy for me to sit on the fence and go for the draw, but because they are at home I think Newcastle might nick it. I can see it being a high-scoring game, so I'll go for 3-2 to United."

Aside from focusing on Sunday's televised game, Fox, who also enjoyed spells with Tottenham and West Brom during his playing days, is full of praise for the managers of both clubs.

And putting rivalries aside ahead of the big match, the former wideman says the jobs that Paul Lambert and Alan Pardew have done this term must not be underestimated.

"Norwich have done really well," he says, "and the way they have applied themselves has been very impressive. Their footballing principles are the same as they were when I was a player there.

"Lambert has given his players a chance and stuck by them. They play good football and while they may not have what we would call big players, they all pull in the same direction. Every one of the players gives their all for Lambert.

"Pardew has also done a fantastic job at Newcastle and I think the work he's done has been underrated. But the main thing is that the players respect the manager and you can see that by the way the team performs.

"Nobody throws their toys out of the pram when things don't work out, and they knuckle down and work hard for each other. They understand what it means to wear the Newcastle United shirt and what the club means to the supporters."