Mark Hughes has THIS warning for his players in crunch Newcastle clash

Mark Hughes insistsNewcastle United should not be underestimated following a difficult run of fixtures at the start of the season.
Mark Hughes insistsNewcastle United should not be underestimated following a difficult run of fixtures at the start of the season.

Mark Hughes insists Newcastle United should not be underestimated following a difficult run of fixtures at the start of the season.

Rafa Benitez's side make the long journey to the South Coast on Saturday, rock bottom of the Premier League and without a win to their name.

With nine games passed, the Magpies' only two points followed in away ties at Cardiff City and Crystal Palace - however a trip to St Mary's is seen as a good opportunity to kick-start their campaign with three points against a side ranked just four points above them.

And having played five of last season's top six, Hughes sympathies with Newcastle, believing they should not be taken lightly.

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"It's an important game as it's the next one and it's one we want to get maximum points from," said Hughes.

"I think there is a danger that people underestimate Newcastle at this moment in time. I think the fixture computer hasn't been very kind to them.

"If you look at the games they've faced - Man United, Man City, Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea as well - not one of those clubs have beaten them by more than one clear goal and that suggests they are accomplished side.

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"They've gone to Old Trafford and taken a 2-0 lead so you see they've got good potential in the side and that's really the message I've been laying back to the players.

"Don't underestimate the ability of Newcastle because they're a good side, they've got good talent, good pace in wide areas and up top as well.

"We've got to be ready for a real tough test against Newcastle. I feel we're ready and we're confident in what we're going to do - but it's important nobody underestimates the threat Newcastle can bring."

A lot has been made of Southampton's home form this season. Like Newcastle, the Saints are yet to win on home turf with two draws and two loses having faced Burnley, Leicester City, Brighton and Chelsea.

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Hughes believes Benitez's side will fancy their chances on Saturday afternoon and it's up to his side, whose only victory so far came in a 1-0 win at Selhurst Park, to stop them.

He continued: "I think they probably would have looked at the fixtures they have ahead of them - clearly they've had a period where they've gone up against tough opponents.

"Withstanding the Brighton game because they probably would have targeted that game as well but coming to ourselves, they would have seen our home form and I imagine 'well that's an opportunity to get points on the board'.

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"I looked at their fixtures ahead of them and this period is a little bit easier for them in terms of what they feel the opposition is in what they're going to face.

"We've got to make sure that out of all the fixtures they're going to face, Southampton, in five or six weeks, was a bit beyond them."