English League 2

Brown: Belief key at Wembley

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Wed, 03 Apr 2013 16:49:00

Yoan Gouffran has been on a scouting mission for Newcastle ahead of their UEFA Europa League quarter-final tie against Benfica.

The striker is cup-tied for their first-leg clash against the Portuguese giants on Thursday night at the Stadium of Light.

While the Magpies were struggling to overcome Anzhi Makhachkala in the round of 16, the former Bordeaux star was watching his old side in action as they went down to a 4-2 aggregate defeat to Benfica.

And Gouffran, 26, has warned his team-mates about the attacking threat of Paraguayan striker Oscar Cardozo.

He told the Chronicle: "I watched their last game in Bordeaux when they lost 3-2 in the second leg.

"Benfica are a quality team with very good players, for example Oscar Cardozo.

"He has scored a lot of goals and is a danger - he scored twice against my old club in the second leg.

"We have to be very strong in Portugal to stop him."

Gouffran added: "We must try not to concede. If we can get through that without conceding we can make up the difference here in Newcastle.

"I have a lot of confidence in my team-mates. We are in with a chance. Everybody in the quarter-finals is. So we must keep going."

The stricken Scottish First Division club were granted interim administration last week in a bid to stave off a winding-up order launched by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Dunfermline owe the taxman ?134,000 and also have further debts worth around ?8.5million outstanding to majority shareholder Gavin Masterton and other companies.

But by entering into administration, the Fife club now face an SFL points penalty.

Administrator Bryan Jackson has already pleaded for leniency, claiming a severe punishment could impede his ability to save the club.

SFL Chief executive David Longmuir, however, stressed he would discuss the matter with the experienced trouble-shooter from accountants PKF before initiating the disciplinary procedures.

He said: "I was speaking to Bryan Jackson this morning and I will be meeting him tomorrow to discuss the plans that he has and how he sees the future of Dunfermline.

"That actually is the most important issue facing the league.

"We need to be able to manage that situation, as we have managed all the other unfortunate insolvency issues we have had.

"I will be meeting Bryan to try and assess the situation before we do anything. I have given him time to try to see what's happening at Dunfermline. I've been in contact with all the key players within the club, I know what's going on and the SFL will deal with that in the next few days.

"That process of deciding penalties will commence after I meet Bryan tomorrow. It's only fair that I have given him some time to assess the situation before the football authorities come in and do whatever we have got to do.

"But we have a tried-and-tested process on that one and we have always handled it fairly and have always treated each case on its merits. We will do that again.

"A board meeting will be required and as soon as I speak to Bryan tomorrow, I will have a better understanding of his time scales, what has to be done and we will initiate our process immediately following that."

The previous SFL club to go into administration, Dundee, were docked 25 points in October 2010. Before that, Gretna and Livingston were demoted two divisions when they were in administration during the close season.

Sidibe, a loan signing from Stoke in February, suffered an abductor injury in the defeat to Portsmouth on Easter Monday while McGurk, who had only just returned over the Easter period from a collapsed lung, suffered a hip problem in training on Wednesday.

Neither will be available for the final four games of the season as Ronnie Moore's men look to achieve promotion to the Championship.

The Shrimpers boss has won silverware at the national stadium on two occasions in the past, winning the trophy as a player with Bolton back in 1989 and a Championship play-off final as Hull boss in 2008.

And Brown's message to his current charges is that they must have belief that they can upset the odds and beat League One side Crewe in the final.

"When I was with Bolton in the final we went 1-0 down and it was all about having belief that day," he told Southend's official website. "We came from behind to win and once we equalised we had the confidence in us to go on and win the game.

"The players must have the belief that they can win the game on Sunday. There's no doubt in my mind that that's exactly what they can do.

"They need to make sure they play well and perform because that's the most important thing. If they do that, then the result will hopefully follow for us.

"We are the underdogs, that's for sure. I went and watched Crewe a week or so ago and they are a good side, who play some very good football.

"We will have the crowd behind us, to have 30,000 of them travelling with us is going to be absolutely fantastic.

"They alone will give the players confidence and belief and hopefully they can strive off of that support."

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