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Well, we're through - 26/03/2004

Well, we're through
Simply irreplaceable
   Alan Shearer
   Sir Bobby Robson
   Bolton Wanderers
   Newcastle United

Well it wasn't the most convincing of performances, but I gave the club 10 out of 10 last night simply because we're in the next round. Winning the tie 3-0 with an aggregate of 7-1 looks like an absolute romp, but that hides the fact that there were more than one or two cracks in our defence - something that Bobby will have to rectify if further progress is going to be made.

It's a dream tie for the manager - going back to your old club is always special, he did it last year at Barcelona and now it's PSV Eindhoven. I do fancy Newcastle, but there's no mugs left in the competition and PSV are doing well in the Dutch Championship - running second only to Ajax. We played Feyenoord last year and they turned up at St.James got a 1-0 win, the return trip was a much better night for the Geordies, but when you assess the difficulty of the tie it leaves you in no doubt that this isn't going to be another 7-1 aggregate win. Newcastle can and should go through - but they must improve the all round defensive display and play well consistently throughout the tie and not just for 20 to 30 minutes spells that have seen them progress against Mallorca and Valerenga.

You can't let it go without mentioning Alan Shearer, his performance over the last week have been exceptional. He's on the pitch to score goals, and he's done that with four in two games. I think there's a minimum of eleven games left this season, six more goals and he's hit the thirty mark. What more can you ask..other than "who's going to replace him in fourteen months time?"

Bolton on Sunday, don't expect that to be easy!

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