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McCARTHY READY FOR MIDFIELD BATTLE

James McCarthy in action at St James' Park earlier this season.

PUBLISHED

12:01 15th March 2013

by Nick Taylor

Irish international talks about what he calls an impressive Newcastle midfield and the mood within the squad.

Newcastle United brought in plenty of reinforcements during the January transfer window and James McCarthy believes the addition of Moussa Sissoko to their midfield will make it a good contest on Sunday.

McCarthy said:

“Newcastle have a lot of quality and that has shown with the players they’ve brought in during January and they’re starting to jell together and pick up points.

“They’ve got a very strong midfield which is going to make it an interesting battle for us.

“Sissoko has been impressive since coming in and he’s got a few goals recently which obviously makes him a danger but, we have to focus on ourselves and we’ll have a right good go at them.”

McCarthy added that confidence was high in the camp after last Saturday’s FA Cup quarter final victory over Everton but the team have kept their feet on the grounds and minds on the Premier League.

“It was a massive achievement last weekend to get to the FA Cup semi-final and we are on a high which we want to influence how we perform in the Premier League.

“The most important thing is that we stay in the Premier League and we’re very determined that we can, we just need to get a run of results which isn’t going to be easy because we’ve got some tough teams to play.”

As well as the good feeling from the FA Cup, McCarthy hopes the team can replicate the quality they showed last season in this fixture against Newcastle by saying:

“Last season we won 4-0 at the DW and we were unbelievable that day and they’re the levels we need to be at.

“They were on a really good run at that time last season and we managed to turn in a brilliant performance, if we can start doing that again then we are going to put up a good fight.”

Another positive highlighted by the 22-year-old is the return of players from injury, something he said has been frustrating for everybody.

“It’s not only frustrating for the players who are injured but also for the players who are on the pitch because we are a strong unit and we want all of our team mates to be fit and able to play.

“It’s been frustrating that we’ve had a lot of injuries this season but recently we’ve been getting most of them back which has been a big boost.

“I thought Antolin was brilliant at the weekend against Everton in his first start since coming back and we’ve missed that strength in depth at times during the season.

“There’s lots of competition for places again now which was the case at the start of the season and it keeps everyone on their toes in training which can only be a benefit for the team.

“The gaffer always explains to everyone that nobody can take their place in the team for granted and that just makes everyone work even harder.”

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