Watford v Newcastle United: Elliot eyes confidence-boosting cup run


Rob Elliot has called on Newcastle United to build confidence by starting an FA Cup run with victory at Watford in the third round on Saturday.

Newcastle are enduring another difficult season at the wrong end of the Premier League table, with Steve McClaren's men third bottom, two points adrift of safety.

A spirited performance in a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal last weekend should have provided encouragement to Newcastle, who had numerous chances to win the game at Emirates Stadium.

But Newcastle now face another tough test away from home against a Watford side that claimed a 2-1 win at St James' Park in the league meeting between the two teams back in September.

Watford are ninth in the Premier League in what has so far been an impressive return to the top flight and, despite successive defeats to Tottenham and Manchester City, are still just three points outside the top six.

Newcastle visit Vicarage Road in the league later this month and goalkeeper Elliot is keen to lift morale ahead of an important run of fixtures in their battle for survival.

"To go on a cup run or win the FA Cup makes you a legend at this place," Elliot told The Chronicle.

"That's something we need to do. We have to give everything to win the Watford game.

"It also breeds confidence to take into the league if we win. I think it's a brilliant game for us and we should attack it.

"It will kick-start the new year even more. If we take the confidence and attitude forward from Arsenal then hopefully that can only be a good thing for the club.

"It's a tough game and we can't think it'll be easy to get on a cup run.

"To go to Watford away is probably one of the toughest draws you could ask for. But it's a good test for us and hopefully, if we get a result we'll get confidence from it."

Watford will be without Nathan Ake due to suspension, the defender joining Joel Ekstrand (knee) and Tommie Hoban (groin) on the sidelines.

Newcastle still have a host of injury problems. Vurnon Anita is set for a spell out of action with a hamstring issue, with Steven Taylor, Mike Williamson and Gabriel Obertan all unavailable with similar complaints.

Rolando Aarons (foot) is expected to be unavailable and Papiss Cisse (groin) and Massadio Haidara are out.