NATHAN JONES has warned Newcastle that Jacob Murphy’s antics could come back to bite them tonight.
The Toon winger waved goodbye to Saints defender Duje Caleta-Car’s face after he was sent off during the first-leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final meeting last week.
Caleta-Car has served his ban and now Jones hopes his squad are fired up by the incident and can settle some scores at St. James’ Park.
Jones said: “It does add bite, it might. I’ve been in games where there has been a bit of niggle and a little bit of leftovers that sometimes come back to bite you and let’s hope that does.
“My motivation is to win the game and try and get Southampton to Wembley, I’ll do anything it takes to do that – within reason.”
The Saints head to Tyneside with a clear task, knowing they need to score at least once to reach the Carabao Cup final for the first time since 2017.
And while there will be a deafening atmosphere this evening, Jones is relishing the chance to spoil the party.
He added: “It is a wonderful cup tie, a semi-final. This is why you come into sport and management. You want to test yourself at the highest level.
“If you fail, you fail. but if you succeed the rewards are massive.
“Mentally we’ll prepare the players for a vociferous atmosphere but these are the games you want to play in, you want to manage.
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“These are the games where you don’t want to wilt, you want to stand up and be counted and I’m excited about it rather than worried about it.”
Former Newcastle man Adam Armstrong saw a goal ruled out for handball in the first leg while Che Adams missed a golden chance to put the south coast side ahead before Joelinton’s goal.
Adams has struggled for form in front of goal of late and hasn’t scored since netting twice in an earlier round of the competition against League One Lincoln City.
But Jones, who is desperate to add a striker before tonight’s deadline, is confident the Scotland international will come good.
He said: “It is not so much that he is struggling because his all round play is magnificent. Then you just have to make decisions without fear or worry.
“If he’d scored that then brilliant, he’d be in a better place. It just takes one to go in and then I’m sure he’ll go on a run.
“Yes he’s missed a couple of big chances but he’s been really good for me.
“People have just got to put themselves in big positions and he does that and he doesn’t shy away from that and I know he’ll come good.”