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Blueprint will put us back on right Roed!

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Having pulled off his Red Adair act with flair last season, Glenn Roeder is determined not to get his fingers burned this time around.

 

Taking Newcastle from the brink of a relegation dogfight following the firing of Graeme Souness to within touching distance of the UEFA Cup proper has been some feat.

 

But Roeder wants to go at least one step beyond that in his first 12 months in full-time charge of United - and further still in the two years to come.

 

The blueprint is simple . . .

 

Top-six finish in 2006/07, a return to the Champions League within three seasons and a cup triumph somewhere in between.

 

Realising it, Roeder admits, will not be straightforward.

 

"I believe you should have goals, but they have to be achievable," he says.

 

"The first goal will be to get more points than the 58 we ended with last season.

 

"We want to improve on seventh place and our points total - and that is not an easy goal.

 

"But the longer-term target is to break into the top four."

 

Newcastle have fallen way off the Champions League pace since Souness succeeded Sir Bobby Robson in the dug-out.

 

Yet that ground can be recovered, according to Roeder.

 

"If you have the attitude that the top four are the untouchables you will not achieve it," he says. "You are giving yourself an excuse not to be in the top four.

 

"Yes, they have the best four squads. Not teams - squads. They can afford injuries and suspensions and the players they bring in hardly affect the quality of the team.

 

"But they are not untouchables. Nothing stays the same forever. When I played I thought Liverpool were the untouchables.

 

"At the moment Chelsea look untouchable, but for sure one day they will slip.

 

"Which one of the top four is most at risk, I wouldn't like to say. But somehow Newcastle have to break that stranglehold."

 

And as a reluctant student of United's history of under-achievement, Roeder knows just what lifting a trophy would do for Tyneside.

 

"There are teams who have owned cups who have had weaker teams than Newcastle United. Yet we have not won a domestic cup since 1955. It's ridiculous.

 

"Every season you get the opportunity, and we have three this term. It is going to happen. It will happen. We will win something."

 

But not, many believe, unless Roeder can close a transfer deal or two ahead of Saturday's Premiership opener against Wigan - and another before the August 31 deadline.

 

"I would prefer to have a signing or two before the Wigan game," he says. "And I'm as confident as you can be of doing it.

 

"I will wait another week if we have to but it will be nice for our supporters if we go out that day with new faces."

 

And with Newcastle having cut it fine last season in signing Michael Owen and Nobby Solano within 24 hours of the deadline, Roeder insists: "I would prefer not to do that.

 

"Once the window shuts that is it, and you are on you own until January."

 

A move for Real Madrid midfielder Thomas Gravesen is the deal closest to completion, while Inter striker Obafemi Martins and Chelsea full-back Wayne Bridge remain in Roeder's sights.

 

"You just keep playing around those names," adds the United boss. "The sort of names you have thrown up are names we all know.

 

"They are proven and, with them, you're not taking a chance with someone from a far-off place.

 

"All transfers are a risk, but we can't be taking big risks."

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Guest Patrokles

I'd rather that than 'yeah, we're going to look at cementing our position in mid-table'

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