There'll be nothing left to chance, says Peter
Written by Rory Mitchinson
Peter Beardsley does not expect either side to leave anything to chance when Newcastle United Under-23s travel to Oldham Athletic in the Checkatrade Trophy tonight.
Only a win inside 90 minutes will make absolutely certain of the Magpies’ passage to the last 32, Beardsley’s troops having amassed three points from their first two outings in the competition’s Northern Group D.
A draw could yet prove enough for United – providing they go on to win the resultant penalty shootout and Port Vale lose at home to already-eliminated Crewe Alexandra.
Oldham, meanwhile, need only a point to qualify, but anything less will see Richie Wellens’ side eliminated – regardless of the outcome in the evening’s other clash in the Potteries.
With so much up in the air, Beardsley is anticipating an entertaining encounter at Boundary Park, as well as a sizeable crowd.
“It’s a tough game but it’s an exciting game,” he told nufc.co.uk. “If we manage to win, we’re through to the next stage. They can settle for penalties, if you like, but knowing Richie as I do, I do not see him doing that. They’ve just been knocked out of the FA Cup but they’ve been on a great run since he took charge, and – for him – it’s a great chance to get to Wembley. It’s the same for us, obviously, but on a different level.
“For us, it’s been a brilliant experience, whatever happens. We won at Crewe, and over the whole game we were unlucky against Port Vale. We’ll stress to the boys – and we have done – that it’s about us. In effect, it’s a one-off cup tie. Oldham can afford to draw the game and go to penalties, but it’s a difficult scenario. I’ve been in that position myself – with Liverpool – and it can be a bit awkward. It’s a strange thing to go into a game where you don’t have to win.
“I might be wrong, but I think Oldham will have the biggest crowd of the three. Again, it’s great for our boys to go to a proper stadium. We’ve talked about that a lot this season and they’ve been really lucky. Other than Blue Flames and St. George’s Park, pretty much every one of our games has been at a proper stadium. It’s been a great experience, a good learning curve and something they want to be a part of.”
The Magpies’ young guns were beaten 6-0 by Aston Villa in their last outing, and Beardsley believes they should be chomping at the bit to get back out on the pitch at Boundary Park.
“Some people might want time to get over it, some would want to be straight back out. It can work either way and obviously we won’t know for sure until the night,” he said. “But, if I’m a player, I’d want to be straight back on the pitch.”
"If we manage to win, we’re through to the next stage. They can settle for penalties, if you like, but knowing Richie (Wellens) as I do, I do not see him doing that."