TOM ON THE EURO-NIGHTS
Tom Huddlestone believes the UEFA Cup experience has been a positive one for the team as they prepare to take on Dinamo Bucharest at the conclusion of the group stage tonight.
Tom Huddlestone believes the UEFA Cup experience has been a positive one for the team as they prepare to take on Dinamo Bucharest at the conclusion of the group stage tonight.There can be no disputing Tom's thoughts, with our name sitting top of Group B with maximum points from three games going into the top spot decider against the Romanians. A point for us would secure first place with Dinamo requiring the full three.
"It is a different type of football but, with the players we've got, it does suit us as well," reasoned the midfielder, who has featured in four out of our five Euro-fixtures so far. "I think it is a welcome distraction from the league, where our form is just about getting where it should be, and it is always good to have a different competition to participate in.
"I didn't really imagine that we would have maximum points at this stage, but Newcastle didn't have the best of starts like us and have been on fire in Europe. We only need a point to win the group, which will in theory benefit us when the draw is made.
"When you look back at it we did get quite a tough draw in the group. We've won our first three so this is a game we can enjoy, but obviously we can't get beaten at home."
In opposition tonight will be a player Tom credits with creating the first senior goal of his career, scored while on loan at Wolves against his former club Derby. The player in question is Dinamo front man Ionel Ganea.
"When I was at Wolves he was one of the main reasons I got my first goal when I went back to Derby," he recalled. "He played me a little back heel straight into my path.
"He was injured when I first got there, but when he played he did very well. He is very good in the box with his back to goal.
"He has got over 40 caps for Romania and is an excellent player. He had injuries at Wolves, while they had strikers such as Leon Clarke, Carl Cort and Kenny Miller so it was difficult for the manager to bring him in when they were doing well.
"When he did play he looked good."