Newcastle play host to Dutch outfit Heerenveen in the Uefa Cup on Thursday and confidence is high on Tyneside after the first leg 2-1 win at the Abe Lenstra.
Buoyed after their win over Chelsea last Sunday, the Toon army will expect their team to progress without too many problems. Manager Graeme Souness though is urging caution.
“If we think this game is over and we have done the hard part then we are fools,” said Souness.
“That isn’t the case by any stretch of the imagination. We had a good result out there, but the tie is not over yet.”
Souness has few injury problems to contend with, key defender Jean Alain Boumsong is cup tied and Lee Bowyer suspended after he was sent off at Heerenveen.
With Boumsong absent, Steven Taylor and Andy O’Brien are in contention to partner Titus Bramble in the heart of the back four, while Nicky Butt or Kieron Dyer will fill in for Bowyer. Patrick Kluivert is set to keep his place in attack, while Alan Shearer is expected to shake off his hamstring complaint to figure.
Middlesbrough take on Austrian side Graz with their tie finely poised at 2-2.
Boro have the two away goals to help them at The Riverside, but Steve McClaren knows that a defeat would see his side dumped out of their first European campaign.
“They scored two goals against us and anyone who can do that has to be respected and there’s no complacency from us,” said a wary McClaren.
“They also beat Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield, so we know it’s going to be a tough return.”
Boro are still without Mark Viduka and George Boateng, while McClaren should restore Joseph-Desire Job to the starting line-up for a more attacking look than the away leg.
Walter Schachner’s Graz side, like Boro, have not played since the home leg in the Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium.
Having come from behind twice to secure a 2-2 draw in the first leg in snowy Belgrade, Dnipro’s major concern has been striker Oleh Venhlinskiy, who has gone down with a cold, while coach Evgeniy Kucherevskiy will also be without suspended midfield player Oleh Shelayev for the second leg.
Partizan have midfield player Nenad Brnovic suspended. While Cameroonian striker Pierre Boya has recovered from injury while Korean Chiwoo Kim is also back in the squad after serving a ban.
Villarreal are to field a full strength team, even though coach Pellegrini would like to rest players with a tough trip to Real Zaragoza this weekend in the La Liga. Luciano Figueroa could well lead the line, as Forlan is cup tied. Villarreal lead the tie 2-0.
With goals a must in this fixture for Dynamo Kiev Latvian Verpakovskis could figure.
AZ Alkmaar hope to put out Aachen despite cold weather conditions in the Netherlands after the two sides played out a goalless score draw in the first leg.
AZ playmaker and team captain Danny Landzaat picked up an ankle injury during the first leg but should play.
Aachen coach Dieter Hecking has only the bare bones of his squad, with Cristian Fiel, Florian Bruns and Laurentiu Reghekampf definitely out through injury, and Reiner Plasshenrich and Dutch striker Erik Meijer facing a race against time to be fit for the game.
After last week’s 1-1 draw Schalke will be confident of progressing through to the last 16. They are boosted by the return of Brazilian playmaker Lincoln and defender Marcelo Borden. Dutch right-back Niels Oude-Kamphuis is a doubt. Shakhtar have no fresh injury worries ahead of the game.
Stuttgart coach Matthias Sammer is facing an injury crisis for the second leg against Parma. Following last week’s 0-0 draw in Italy, Sammer has concerns over Markus Babbel, Matthieu Delpierre, Boris Zivkovic and Martin Stranzl. German international Philipp Lahm is definitely out due to a stress fracture to his right foot, while Swiss striker Marco Streller has a fractured shinbone and fibula.
The Italians will be without suspended midfielder Vincenzo Grella and Domenico Morfeo, Fabio Vignaroli is also out with the flu.
Giovanni Trapattoni’s side came back from Krasnodar having lost 2-0 against CSKA in the first leg. Alcides and Luisão are expected to start in the centre of defence with Panagiotis Fyssas set to replace Manuel Dos Santos on the left. On the right side of defence, Miguel may replace João Pereira.
Still on their winter break, CSKA have been in Portugal since the weekend and having a full squad to pick from.
A touchline ban for coach José Peseiro may be a handicap for Sporting at Feyenoord as they look to hold onto a slender 2-1 lead.
Sporting have a doubt over central defender Anderson Polga, but Cameroonian forward Roudolphe Douala is back in the squad after a month’s absence, with Miguel Garcia and Rodrigo Tello also travelling to Rotterdam.
The Dutch side have injury concerns over Pascal Bosschaart, Hossam Ghaly, Patrick Mtiliga and Christian Gyan. 19-year-old defender Mark van den Boogaart is in the squad. There is no place for Leonardo and Sebastián Pardo in the party, while Alexander Östlund and André Bahia are both ineligible.
Auxerre must overturn a 1-0 deficit at home against Ajax if they are to progress through. Leading striker Benjani Mwaruwari returns after being rested at the weekend. Younes Kaboul and midfield player Yann Lachuer remain troubled with knee injuries, full-back Johan Radet is fit again following a four-month lay-off with a knee problem of his own.
Ajax will be without Steven Pienaar after scans revealed the midfield player damaged right knee ligaments in the first leg.
Sochaux coach Guy Lacombe is beset by a number of injuries that could force him to make wholesale changes for second leg against Olympiakos. They must do so without Marcelo Trapasso, Ilan and Wilson Oruma.
Georgios Anatolakis and Gabriel Schürrer are set for a return to the Olympiakos starting lineup, while Athanasios Kostoulas is in line to cover for the suspended Anastasios Pantos.
Steaua Bucurest coach Walter Zenga and his fellow Italian Claudio Ranieri, the Valencia coach, are both under mounting pressure as their sides prepare for tonight’s second leg in the Romanian capital. Valencia hold a 2-0 lead from last weeks first leg.
Steaua’s owner, Gigi Becali, has ordered Zenga to start the match with striker Andrei Cristea up front.
“If not,” said Becali, “Walter Zenga will not be coach any more. But there will not be an ‘if’ because Cristea will play from the beginning. I think he will score three goals and we will qualify.”
Valencia will be without suspended defender Carlos Marchen
Real Zaragoza are looking good to qualify for the next round after their 1-0 win over Fenerbahce in Turkey last week.
Except for the season-long absence of centre-half César Jiménez, who tore his knee ligaments last month, and left-back Delio Toledo, who has a thigh muscle injury, Zaragoza will be at full strength for the match.
The only new injury in the Fenerbahçe squad is striker Semih Sentürk, who is sidelined with a groin problem. Brazilian defender Fabio Luciano will take his place after recovering from a minor ankle problem, while his compatriot Marco Aurelio returns from suspension. Goalkeeper Rustu Recber and Alex missed training on Monday with minor injuries but will be fit for the trip to Spain.
Lille welcome Basel on Thursday night knowing they will have to win if they are to progress to the last 16 of the UEFA Cup following last weeks 0-0 draw in Switzerland.
Christophe Landrin comes into the Lille squad after a rib injury but Jean Makoun (knee) is sidelined. Captain Philippe Brunel who picked up a one-match suspension after his booking in the first leg last week also misses tonight’s game.
Basel defenders Murat Yakin and Boris Smiljanic do not made the trip to France because of long-term injuries.
The main injury concern for for Panathinaikos Greece’s European champion Dimitris Papadopoulos who is out with a knee-injury and he will replaced by Panathinaikos new signing, Fanis Gekas. Also Anderson Lima is doubtful for the tie while Cypriot midfield player Konstantinos Haralambidis and Manholis Roubakis are ineligible.
Right-back Sergio Ramos will be absent for Sevilla with a sprained knee while centre-back Pablo Ruiz will miss the rest of the season with a torn cruciate ligament. Jesús Navas has a strained hamstring and Carlos Aranda will replace Carlitos Domínguez.
After being forced to sit out last week because of heavy snowfall in the Austrian capital. Vienna and Athletic Bilbao get their first tie under way tonight with the return leg rescheduled in Spain on Sunday.
Bilbao first-choice goalkeeper Dani Aranzubia struggling with flu – he is likely to be replaced by Ignacio Lafuente with the 21-year-old Roberto Pampín on the bench.
Markus Kiesenebner could play for Vienna after recovering from a thigh problem.